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THE 



WO R K S 



i)F THE 



RIGHT HONOURABLE 



EDMUND BURKE, 



COLLECTED IN THREE VOLUMES. 



VOL. II. 



LONDON: 
PRINTED FOR J. DODSLEY, PALL MALL. 



M. D C C. X C 1 1. 



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4 



4 



O N T E N 



OF THE 



SECOND VOLUME, 



1\/J R* BURKE'S Speech at bis Arrival at 

Brijlol, 1774 - - - - Page i 

/ \ ' ' ' 

Speech at the Conclujion of the Poll^ oft 'his being declared 

duly eleSIed - - -i.^. . - -^9 

*». ' . 

Speech on moving his Refolutiom for* Conciliation with 
the Colonies - - - - - 19 

Letter to the Sheriffs of Brijlol on the Affairs of Ante-- 
ricaj 1777 ----- loi 

Two Letters to Gentlemen in Brijiol^ on the Bills depend-- 
ing in Parliament relative to the Affairs of Ireland^ 
1778 - - - - - - 157 

Speech on a Plan for the better Security of the Indepen-- 
dence of Parliament^ and the oeconomical Reformation 
of the Civil and other EJiabliJbments - - 175 

Speech at Brijlol^ previous to the FAediiony 1780 - 269 

* Speech 



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;* 



CONTENTS, 

Speech on the Eaji India Bill • * page 3*5 

Speech on the Nabob ofArcBfs Debts - - 423 

Appendijc to the preceding Speech • - • 

Reprefentation to His Majejly, moved in the Houfe of Com- 
monsy June 14, 1784 - - ,. - gi^ 



MR. 



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MR. B U R K E's 
SPEECHES 

A T 

HIS ARRIVAL AT BRISTOL, 

AND AT 

THE CONCLUSION OF THE POLL. 

1774, 



Vol. II. B 



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y^ 



( 3 ) 



EDITOR'S ADVERTISEMENT. 



WE believe there is no need of an apology to the 
publick for offering to them any genuine fpeeches of 
Mr. Burke : the two contained in this publication undoubt- 
edly are fo. The general approbation they met with (as we 
hear) from all parties at Briftol, perfuades us that a good 
edition of them will not be unacceptable in Loiidon; 
which we own to be the inducement, and we hope is a 
juftification, of our offering it. 

We do not prefume to defcant on the merit of thefe 
Speeches ; but as it is no lefs new, than honourable, to 
find a popular candidate, at a popular eledlion, daring to 
avow his diffent to certain points that have been confidered 
as very popular objects, and maintaining himfelf on the 
manly confidence of his own opinion ; fo, we muft fay, 
that it does great credit to the people of England, as it 
proves to the world, that, to infure their confidence, it 
is not neceflary to flatter them, or to affedt a fubferviency 
to their paffions or their prejudices. 

It may be neceffary to premife, that at the opening of 
the poll the candidates were Lord Clare, Mr. Brickdale, 
the twolaft members; and Mr. Cruger, a confiderable mer- 
chant at Brifiol. On the fecond day of the poll Lord Clare 
declined ; and a confiderable body of gentlemen, who had 
wiftied that the city of Briftol Ihould, at this critical feafon, 

B a be 



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4 EDITOR'S ADVERTISEMENT. 

be reprefented by fome gentleman of tried abilities and 
known commercial knowledge, immediately put Mr. Burke 
in nomination. Some of them fet off exprefs for London, 
to apprife that gentleman of this event ; but he was gone 
to Malton in Yorkfhire. The fpirit and adtive zeal of thefe 
gentlemen followed him to Malton. They arrived there 
juft after Mr. Burke's eledlion for that place, and invited 
him to BriftoL 

Mr. Burke, as he tells us in his firft Speech, acquainted 
his conftituents with the honourable offer that was made 
him ; and, with their confent, he immediately fet off for 
Briftol on the Tuefday at fix in the evening ; he arrived at 
Briftol at half paft two in the afternoon on Thurfday the, 
13th of Odtober, being the fixth day of the poll. 

He drove dire6lly to the mayor's houfe, who not being 
at home, he proceeded to the Guildhall, where he afcended 
the huftings^ and having faluted the electors, the iheriffs, 
and the two candidates, he repofed himfelf for a few mi- 
nutes, and then addreffed the ele(Slors in a fpeech which, 
was received with great and univerfal applaufe and appro- 
bation. 



MR. 



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( 5 ) 
M Re B U R K E ' 5 

SPEECH 

AT HIS ARRIVAL AT BRISTOL, 

Gentuemett, 

I A M come hither to folicit in perfbn, that favour whicb 
my friends have hitherto endeavoured to procure for 
me, by the moft obliging, and to me the moft honourable, 
exertions. 

I have fo high an opinion of the great truft which you: 
have to confer on this occafion ; and, by long experience, 
fo juft a diffidence in my abilities, to fill it in a manner 
adequate even to my own ideas, that I Ihould never have 
ventured of myfelf to intrude into that awful fituation. 
But fince I am called upon by the defire of feveral refpedtable 
fellow-fubjefts, as I have done at other times, I give up my 
fears to their wilhes. Whatever my other deficiencies 
may be, I do not know what it is to be wanting to mj 
friends. 

I am not fond of attempting to raife publlck expedtation 
by great promifes. At this time, there is much caufe to 
confider, and very little to prefume. We feem to be ap- 
proaching to a great crifis in our affairs, which calls for 
the whole wifdom of the wifeft among us, without being 
able to affure ourfelves, that any wifdom can preferve us 
from many and great inconvcniencies. You know I fpeak 



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6 SPEECH AT HIS 

of our unhappy conteft with America. I confefs, it is a 
matter on which I look down as from a precipice. It is 
difficult in itfelf, and it is rendered more ^intricate by a 
great variety of plans of condu6t. I do not mean to enter 
into them. I will not fufpe6t a want of good intention in 
framing them. But however pure the intentions of their 
authors may have been, we all know that the event has 
been unfortunate. The means of recovering our affairs 
are Aot obvious. So many great queftions of commerce, 
of finance, of conftitution, and of policy, are involved in 
this American deliberation, that I dare engage for nothing, 
but that I Ihall give it, without any predilecftion to former 
opinions, or any finifter bias whatfoever, the moft honeft 
and impartial confideration of which I am capable. The 
publick has a full right to it ; and this great city, a main 
pillar in the commercial intereft of Great-Britain, mull 
totter on its bafe by the flighted miftake with regard to our 
American meafures* 

Thus much, however, I think it not amifs to lay before 
you; That I am not, I hope, apt to take up. or lay down 
my opinions lightly. I have held, and ever fliall maintain, 
to the beft of my power, unimpaired and undiminiflied, 
the juft, wife, and neceflary conftitutional fuperiority of 
Great-Britain. This is neceffary foF America, as well as 
for us. 1 never niiean to depart from it. Whatever may 
be loft by it, I avow it. The forfeiture even of your fa- 
vour, if by fuch a declaration I could forfeit it, though the 
firft object of my ambition, never will make me difguife 
my fentiments on this fubjed. 

But, — I have ever had a clear opinion, and have ever 
held a conftant correfpondcnt conduct, that this fuperiority 
is confiftent with all the liberties a fober and fpirited Ame- 
rican ought to defire. I never mean to put any colonift, 

or 



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ARRIVAL AT BRISTOL. 7 

or any .hiiinan creature, in a lituation, not becoming a 
free-i-man. To reconcile Britifh fuperiority with American 
liberty Ihall be my great object, as far as my little faculties 
extend. I am far from thinking that both, even yet, may 
not be preferved. 

When I firft devoted myfelf to the pubUck fervice, I 
conlidered how I fliould render myfelf fit for it ; and this I 
did by endeavouring to di&over what it was, that gave this 
country the rank it holds in the world. I found that, our 
profperity and dignity arafe principally, if not folely, from 
two fources ; our confiitution and commerce. Both thefe I 
have fpared no ^fludy to underftand, and no endeavour to 
fupport. 

The diftinguiftiing part of our conftitntion is its liberty. 
To preferve that liberty iaviolate, &ems the particular duty 
and proper truft of a member of the Houfe of Commons^. 
But the liberty, the only liberty I mean, is a liberty cpn- 
nested with order; that not only exifts along with order 
gnd virtue, but which cgnnot exift ^t all without them. It 
inheres in good and (teady government, as in its f^bilance 
and vital principle. 

The other fource of our power is commerce, of which 
you are fo large a part, and wjiich cannot exift, no mcH'e 
than your liberty, without a connection with many virtues.. 
It has ever been a very particular and a very favourite 
obje6t of my ftudy, in its principles, and in its details.. I 
think many here are acquainted with the truth of what I 
fay. This I know, that I have ever had my houfe open, 
and my poor fervices ready, for traders and manufacturers 
of every denomination. My favourite ambition is to have 
thofe fervices acknowledged. I now appear before you to 
make trial, whether my earneft endeavours have been fo 
wholly oppreffed by the weaknefs of my abilities, as to be 

4 rendered 



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S SPEECH AT HIS ARRIVAL AT BRISTOL- 

Tendered inlignificant in the eyes of a great trading city; 
or whether you chufe to give a weight to humble abilities, 
for the fake of the honeft exertions with which they are 
accompanied. This is my trial to-day. My induftry is not 
on trial. Of my induftry I am fure, as far as my conftitu- 
tion of mind and body admitted. 

When I was invited by many refpecSlable merchants, 
freeholders, and freemen of this city, to offer them my 
fervices, I had juft received the honour of an election at 
another place, at a very great diftance from this. I imme- 
diately opened the matter to thofe of my worthy conftituents 
who were with me, and they unanimoufly advifed me not 
to decline it. They told me, that they had elected me with 
a -view to the publick fervice ; and as great queftions relative 
to our commerce and colonies were imminent, that in fuch 
matters I might derive authority and fupport from the 
Teprefentation of this great commercial city ; they delired 
me therefore to fet off without delay, very well perfuaded 
that I never could forget my obligations to them, or to my 
friends, for the choice they had made af me. From that 
time to this inftant I have not llept ; and if I Ihould have 
the honour of being freely chofen by you, I hope I Ihall 
be as far from numbering or lleeping when your fervice 
jequires me to be awake, as I have been in coming to offer 
jnyfelf a candidate fox your favour. 



MR« 



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( 9 ) 

MR. B U R K E • 8 

SPEECH 

TO T H 1 

ELECTORS OF B R I S T OX,, 

OK HIS BXING DSCLAJLBD BY THE SH^RIPrS^ DULY BLBCTED 0KB OF THB 
REPRBSBKTATIVBS IK PARLIAMBNT FOR THAT CITY, 

On Thursday the 3d of November, 1774. 

Gentlemen, 

I Cannot avoid fympathizing ftrongly with the feelings of 
the gentleman who has received the fame honour that 
you have conferred on me. If he, who was bred and pafTed 
his whole life amongft you ; if he, who, through the eafy 
gradations of acquaintance, friendfliip, and efteem, has ob- 
tained the honour, which feems of itfelf, naturally and al- 
moft infenfibly, to meet with thofe, who, by the even te- 
nour of pleafing manners and focial virtues, Aide into the 
love and confidence of their fellow-citizens ; — if he cannot 
fpeak but with great emotion on this fubjedl, furrounded as 
he is on all fides with his old friends ; you will have the 
goodnefs to excufe me, if my real, unafFeiled embarrafl^ 
ment prevents me from exprefling my gratitude to you as I 
ought. 

I was brought hither under the difadvantage of being un- 
known, even by fight, to any of you. No previous canvafs 
was made for me. I was put in nomination after the poll 

Vol. IL C was 



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Id SPEECH ATTHE 

was opened. I did not appear until it was far advanced* 
If, under all thefe accumulated difadvantages, your good 
opinion has Carried me to this happy point of fuccefs ; you 
will pardon me, if I can only fay to you collecSlively, as I 
faid to you individually, fimply aild plainly, I thank you — I 
am obliged to you — I am not infenlible of your kindnefs. 

This is all that I am able ta fay for the ineftimable favour 
you have conferred upon me. But I cannot be fatisfied, 
without faying a little more in defence of the right you 
have to confer fuch a favour. The perfon that appeared 
here as counfel for the candidate, who fo long and fa ear* 
neftly folicited your votes, thinks proper to deny, that a very 
great part of you have any votes to give. He fixes a Hand- 
ard period of time in his own imagination, not what the 
law defines, but merely what the convenience of his client 
fuggefls, by which he would cut oif> at one flroke, all thofe 
freedoms, which are the (leareft privileges of your corpora-* 
tion; which the common law authorizes: which your ma- 
giflrates are compelled to g^ant; which come duly authen- 
ticated into this court ; and are faved in the cleareft words, 
and with the moft religious care and tendernefs, in that 
very adt of parliament, which. was made to regulate the 
eledlions by freemen, and to prevent all poflible abufes ia 
making them. 

I do not intend to argue the matter here^ My learned 
counfel has fupported your caufe with his ufiial ability ; the 
worthy flieriffs h»ve a£ted with their ufual equity, and I 
have no doubt, that the fame equity, which didtates the re^ 
turn, will guide the final determination. I had the honour^ 
in conjundtion with many far wifer men, to contribute ^ 
very fmall affiflanqe, but however fbme afJiftance, to the 
forming the judicature which is to try fuch queftions. It 
would be unnatural* in me, to doubt the juftice of that courts 

' in 



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CONCLUSION OF THE POi^L. ir 

in the trial of ray own caufe, to which I have been fo a^ve. 
to give jurifdiiStion oyer every other. 

I afliire the worthy freemen, and this corporation, that, if 
the gentleman perfeveres in the intentions, which his pre- 
fent warmth dictates to him, I will attend their caufe with 
diligence, and I hope with effe<St. For, if I know any thing 
of myfelf, it is not my own intereft in it, but my full con- 
virion, that induces me to tell you — / tbink tbereis not a 
fhadow of doubt in the cafe. 

I do not imagine that you find me ra(h in declaring my- 
felf, or very forward in troubling you. From the beginning 
to the end of the election, 1 have kept filence in all matters 
of difcufiion. I have never aiked a queftion of a voter on the 
other fide, or fupported a doubtful vote on my own. I re- 
fpe<Sted the abilities of my managers ; I relied on the can- 
dour of the court. I think the worthy flieriffs will bear me 
witnefs, that I have never once made an attempt to impofe 
upon their reafon, to furprize their juftice, or to ruffle their, 
temper. I ftood on the huftings (except when I gave my 
thanks to thofe who favoured me with their votes) lefs like 
a candidate, than an unconcerned fpeftator of a public pro- 
ceeding. But here the face of things is altered. Here is an 
attempt for a general majfacre of fufFrages ; an attempt, by 
a promifcuous carnage oi friends and foes^ to exterminate 
;^ove two thoufand votes, including/^r^« hundred polled for 
U)e gentleman bimfelfy who now complains^ and who would 
deftroy the friends whom he has obtained, only becaufe he 
cannot obtain as many of them as he wifhes. 

How he will be permitted, in another place, to ftultify^ 
and difable himfelf, and to plead againft his own a<fls, is an-» 
other queftion. The law will decide it. I fliall only fpeak. 
of it as it concerns the propriety of public condufl: in this 
city. I do not preteod to Jay down rules of decprum for 

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la S P E E C H A T T H E 

6ther gentlemen. They are bell judges of the mode of 
proceeding that will recommend them to the favour of their 
fellow-citizens. But I confefs, I ihould look rather awk- 
ward, if 1 had been the very firji to produce the new copies of 
freedom^ if I had perfifted in producing them to the laft ; if 
I had ranfacked, with the moft unremitting induftry, and 
the moft penetrating refearch, the remoteft corners of the 
kingdom to difcover them ; if I were then, all at once, to 
turn Ihort, and declare, that I had been fporting all this 
while with the right of election : and that I had been draw- 
ing out a poll, upon no fort of rational grounds, which dif- 
turbed the peace of my fellow-citizens for a month toge- 
ther—I really, for my part, fhould appear awkward under 
filch circumftances. 

It would be ftill more awkward in me, if I were gravely 
to look the IherifFs in the face, and to tell them, they were 
not to determine my caufe on my own principles ; nor to 
make the return upon thofe votes, upon which I had refted 
my eledtion. Such would be my appearance to the court 
and magiftrates. 

But how Ihould I appear to the voters themfelves ? If I 
had gone round to the citizens intitled to freedom, and 
fqueezed them by the hand — ^^ Sir^ I humbly beg your 
" vote — I (hall be eternally thankful — may I hope for the 
^^ honour of your fupport ? — Well ! — come — we fhall fee 
" you at the council-houfe^" — If I were then to deliver them^ 
to my managers, pack them into tallies, vote them off in*-;^ 
court, and when I heard from the bar — " Such a one only ^ 
^< and fuch a one for ever !— be'is my man !*' — ^< Thank you, 
^ good fir — ^Hah !' my worthy friend ! thank you kindly — 
^ that'sanhoheift fellow— how is your good. family?*' — ^Whilft- 
thefe words were hardly out of my mouth, if I Ihould have 
wh.eekd round, at once,, and told, them — " Get you* gone,. 

** you* 



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CONCLUSION OF THE POLL. 13 

^« you pack of worthlefs fellows ! you have no votes— you 
^< are ufurpers ! you are ihtruders on the rights of real 
" freemen ! I will have nothing to do with you ! you ought 
^* never to have been produced at this election, and the Ihe- 
<^ riffs ought not to have admitted you to poll.'' 

Gentlemen, I Ihould make a ftrange figure, if my con- 
du<Sl had been of this fort. I am not fo old an acquaintance 
of yours as the worthy gentleman. Indeed I could not have 
ventured on fuch kind of freedoms with you. But I am' 
bound, and I will endeavour, to have juftice done to the 
rights of freemen ; even though I (hould, at the fame time, 
be obliged to vindicate the former '^^ part of my antagonilVs- 
condudt againft his own prefent inclinations* 

I owe myfelf, in all things, to all the freemen of this city. 
My particular friends have a demand on me, that I fliould 
not deceive their expectations* Never was caufe or man 
j&ipported with more conftancy, more activity, more fpirif. 
I have been fupported with a zeal indeed and heartinefs in 
my friends, which (if their objedt had been at all propor- 
tioned to their endeavours) could never be fufficiently com- 
mended. They fupported me upon the moft liberal prin- 
ciples. They wifhed that the members for Briftol fliould 
be chofen for the city, and Jfor their country at Lirge, and* 
act for themfelves. 

So far they are not difappointed. If I poffefs nothing elfe,- 
I am fure I poflefs the temper that is fit for your fervice. I 
know nothing of Briftol, but by the favours I havefoceiv^dy 
and the virtues I have feen exerted in it. 

I fliall ever retain, what I now feel, the moft perfedt and 
grateful attachment to my friends— and I have no enmities;: 
no refentment. I never can confider fidelity to engage- 

♦ Mr. Brlckdale opened his poll, it fcemj, with a tally of thofc very kind of freemen,, 
and voted many hundreds of them. 

ments^, 



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14 S P E E € H A T T H E 

meats, and conftancy in friendfhips, but with the higheft 
approbation ; even when thofe noble qualities are employed 
againft my own pretenfions. The gentleman, who is not 
fortunate as I have been in this conteft, enjoys, in this re- 
fpedl, a confolation fuU of honour both to himfelf and to his 
friends. They have certainly left nothing undone for his 
fervice. 

As for the trifling petulance, which the rage of party ftirs 
lip in little minds, though it fliould fhew itfelf even in this 
court, it has not made the flighted imprcflion on me* The 
higheft flight of fuch clamorous birds is winged in an infe- 
rior region of the air. We hear them, and we look upon 
them, juft as you, gentlemen, when you enjoy the ferene air 
oti your lofty rocks, look down upon the gulls, that flcim the 
mud of your river, when it is exhaufted of its tide. 

I am forry I cannot conclude, without faying a word on a 
topick touched upon by my worthy colleague. I wifli that 
topick had been pafled by ; at a time when I have fo little 
leifure to difcufs it. But fince he has thought proper to 
throw it out, I owe you a clear explanation of my poor fen- 
timents on that fubje6t. 

He tells you, that ^ the topick of inftrudlions has occa* 
^^ floned much altercation and \4neaflnefs in this city ;" and 
he exprefles himfelf (if I underftand him rightly) in favour 
of the coercive authority of fuch inftruiStions* 

Certainly, gentlemen, it ought to be the happinefs and 
glory of a reprefentative, to live in the ftricSteft union, the 
clofeft correfpondence, and the moft unreferved communi-* 
cation with his conftituents. Their wiflies ought to have 
great veight with him ; their opinion high refpedl ; their 
bufinefs unremitted attention. It is his duty to facrifice his 
repofe, his jdeafures, his fatisfadtions, to theirs ; and, above 
iiD, ever-, and in all cafes, to prefer their intereft to h^s own^ 
$ But, 



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CONCLUSION OF THE POLL. 15 

But, his tinbiafled opinion, his mature judgement, his en- 
lightened confcience, he ought not to facrifice to you; to any 
man, or to any fet of men living. Thefe he does not derive 
from your pleafure ; no, nor from the law and the conftitu- 
tion. They are a fruft from Providence, for the abufe of 
which he is deeply anfwerable* Y6ur reprefentative owes 
you, not his induftry only, but his judgement; and he be- 
trays, inftead of ferving you, if he facrifices it to your opi- 
nion. 

My worthy colleague fays, his will ought to be fubfer- 
vient to yours. If that be all, the thing is innocent. If 
government were a matter of will upon any fide, yours, 
without qiieftion, ought to be fuperior. But government 
and legillation are matters of reafon and judgement, and 
not of inclination ; and, what fort of reafon is that, in which 
the determination precedes the difcuflion ; in which one fet 
of men deliberate, and another decide; and where thofe 
who form the conclufion are perhaps three hundred miles 
diftant from thofe who hear the arguments ? 

To deliver an opinion, is the right of all men ; that of 
conftituents is a weighty and refpedtable opinion, which a 
feprefentative ought always to rejoice to hear ; and which 
he ought always moft feridufly to confider. But autbori-- 
tativ€ inilruftions y mandates iflued, which the member is 
bound blindly and implicitly to obey, to vote, and to argue 
for, though contrary to the cleared conviftion of his judge- 
ment and confcience ; thefe are things utterly unknown to 
the laws of this land, and which arife from a fundamental 
miftake of the whole order and tenour of our conftitution. 

Parliament is not a congrefs of ambafladors from different 
and hoftile interefts; which interefbs each muft maintain, 
as an agent and advocate, againft other agents and advo- 
cates^ but parliament is a'</^//i^^r^?/V^ affembly of one 

ziation^ 



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i& SPEEGHATTHE, 

nation, with one intereft, that of the whole ; where, no: 
local purpofes, not local prejudices ought to guide, but the 
general good, refulting from the general reafon of the 
whole. You chufe a member indeed ; but when you have 
chbfen him, he is not member of Briftol, but he is a 
member of parliament. If the local conftituent (hould 
have an intereft, or fhould form an hafty opinion, evidently 
oppofite to the real good of the reft of the community, the 
member for that place ought to be as far, as any other, 
from any emleavour to give it effedt. I beg pardon for 
faying fo much on this fubjeft. I have been unwillingly 
drawn into it ; but I ftiall ever ufe a refpedtful franknefs of 
communication with you. Your faithful friend, your de- 
voted fervant, I (hall be to the end of my life : A flatterer 
you do not wifti for. On this point of inftrwSlions, how* 
ever, I think it fcarcely poffible, we ever can have any fort 
of difference. Perhaps I may give you too much, rather 
than too little trouble. 

From the firft hour I was encouraged to court your favour 
to this happy day of obtaining it, I have never promifed 
you any thing, but humble and perfevering endeavours to 
do. my duty. The weight of that duty, I confefs, makes 
me tremble; and whoever well confiders what it is, of all 
things in the world will fly from what has the leaft likenefs 
to a pofitive and precipitate engagement. To be a good 
member of parliament, is, let me tell you, no eafy talk ; 
efpecially at this time, when there is fo ftrong a difpofition 
to rtm into the perilous extremes of fervile compliance, or 
wild popularity. To unite circumfpeAion with vigour, is 
abfolutely neceflary ; but it is extremely difficult. We are 
now members for a rich commercial city\ this city, how- 
ever, is but a part of a rich commercial nationy the interefts 
^f which are various^ multiform, and intricate. We are 

members 



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CONCLUSION OF THE POLL. 17 

members for that great nation, which however is itfelf but 
part of a great empire^ extended by our virtue and our for- 
tune to the fartheft limits of the eaft and of the weft. All 
thefe wide-fpread interefts muft be coniidered; muft be 
compared; muft be reconciled if poffible. We are mem- 
bers for a /r^^ country; and furely we all know, that the 
machine of a free conftitution is no fimple thing ; but as 
intricate and as delicate, as it is valuable. We are members 
in a great and antient monarcby ; and we muft preferve re- 
iigioufly, the true legal rights of the fovereign, which form 
the key-ftone that binds together the noble and well-con- 
ftnvSted arch of our empire and our conftitution. A confti- 
tution made up of balanced powers muft ever be a critical 
thing. As fuch I mean to touch that part of it which comes 
within my reach. I know my inability, and I willi for fup- 
port from every quarter. In particular I ftiall aim at the 
friendftiip, and ftiaD cultivate the beft correipondence, of 
the worthy colleague you have given me. 

I trouble you no farther than once more to thank you all ; 
you, gentlemen, for your favours ; the candidates for their 
temperate and pdite behaviour ; and the Iherifts, for a con- 
duct which may give a model for all who are in public fta- 
tions. 



Vol. II. D MR. 



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MR. BURKE'S 

SPEECH 

O N 
MOVING HIS RESOLUTIONS 
FOR 

CONCILIATION WITH THE COLONIES, 
MARCH 22, 1775. 



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C 21 f 



SPEECH, &c. 

I HOPE, Sir, that, notwithftanding the aufterity of the- 
Chair, your good-nature will incline you to fome degree 
of indulgence towards human frailty. You will not think 
it unnatural, that thofe who have an objedt depending^ 
which ftrongly engages their hopes and fears, fliould be 
fbmewhat inclined to fuperftition. As I came into the 
houfe full of anxiety about the event of my motion, I founcf 
to my infinite furprize, that the grand penal Bill, by which- 
we had palled fentence on the trade and fuftenanee of Ame- 
rica, is to be returned to us from the other houfe *. I do* 
confefs, I could not help looking on this event as a fortunate 
omen. I look upon it as a fort of providential favour ; by 
which we are put once more in pofleffion of our deliberative 
capacity, upon a bufinefs fo very queftionable in its nature, 
fo very uncertain in its iflue. By the return of this Bill; 
which feemed to have taken its flight for ever, we are at 
this very inftant nearly as free to chufe a plan for our Ame- 
rican government, as we were on the firft day of the feflion. 
If, Sir, we incline to the fide of conciliation, we are not at 
all embarrafled (unlefs we pleafe to make ourfelves fo) by 
any incongruous mixture of coercion and reftraint. We 
are therefore called upon, as it were by a fuperior warning 

*■ The ASt to reftrain the tiade and commerce of. the proviAcet of Maf&chufet's* 
Bay and New Hampiliirey and colonies of Connecticut and Rhode Ifland, and ProvU 
dence Plantation,, in North America, to Great Britain, Ireland, and the Brttiih Iflands 
in the Weft Indies ; and to prohibit fuch provinces and colonies from carrying on any 
iiihery on the banks of Newfoundland^ and other places thereia mentioned^ . undec- 
certain conditions and Umitatioos* 

voicey 



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22 S P E E C H O N 

^oice, again to attend to America ; to attend to the whole 
of it together ; and to review the fubjedt with an unufual 
.degree of care and calmnefs. 

Surely it is an awful fubjedl; or there is none fo on this 
lide of the grave. When I firft had the honour of a feat in 
this houfe, the affairs of that continent prefleil themf^lves 
«pon us, as the moft important and moft delicate objedi of 
parliamentary attention. My little (hare in this great deli- 
beration opprefled me, I found myfelf a partaker in a very 
high truft; and having no fort of reafon to rely on the 
ftrength of my natural abilities for the proper execution of 
that truft, , I was obliged to take more than common pains, 
to inftrudt myfelf in every thing which relates to our colo- 
nies. I was not lefs under the neceflity of forming fome 
fixed ideas, concerning the general policy of the Britifli 
empire. Something of this fort feemed to be indifpenfable ; 
in order, amidft fo vaft a flu<5tuation of paflions and opi- 
nions, to concenter my thoughts ; to ballaft my condu*5t ; 
to preferve me from being blown about by every wind of 
j^afhionabie do<Strine* I really did not think it fafe, or 
manly, to have frefti principles to feek upon every freflx 
mail which Ihould arrive from America, 

At that period, I had the fortune to find myfelf in pcrfefl 
^concurrence with a large majority in this Houfe. Bowing 
under that high authority, and penetrated with the fharp- 
nefs and ftrength of that early impreffion, I have continued 
ever fince, without the leaft deviation, in my original fen- 
timents. Whether this be owing to an obftinate perfe- 
verance in error, or to a religious adherence to what appears 
to-me truth and reafon, it is in your equity to judge. 

Sir, Parliament having an enlarged view of obje<Sls, made, 

during this interval^ more frequent changes in their fenti- 

ments and their conduit, than could be juftified in a particular 

X perfon 



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CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. 2^ 

perfon upon the contracted fcale of private information. 
But though I do not hazard any thing approaching to a 
cenfure on the motives of former parliaments to all thofe 
alterations, one fadt is undoubted; that under them the 
ftate of America has been kept in continual agitation •- 
Every thing adminiftered as remedy to the public com- 
plaint, if it did not produce, was at leaft followed by, an 
heightening of the diftemper ; until, by a variety of expe- 
riments, that important country has been brought into her 
prefent fituation; — a fituation which I will not mifcall, 
which I dare not name; which I fcarcely know how ta 
comprehend in the terms of any defcription. 

In this pofture, Sir, things ftood at the beginning of the 
feliion. About that time, a worthy member * of great 
parliamentary experience, who, in the year 1766, filled the 
chair of the American committee with much ability, took 
tne afide ; and, lamenting the prefent afpeiSt of our politicks, 
told me, things were come to fuch a pafs, that our former 
methods of proceeding in the houfe would be no longer 
tolerated. That the public tribunal (never too indulgent 
to a long and unfuccefsful oppofition) would now fcrutinize 
our conduft with unufual feverity. That the very vicifli- 
tudes and ihiftings of minifterial meafures, inftead of con- 
victing their authors of inconftancy and want of fyftem^ 
would be taken as an occafion of charging us with a pre- 
determined difcontent, which nothing could fatisf y ; whilft 
we accufed every meafure of vigour as cruel, and every 
propofal of lenity as weak and irrefolute* The publick, he^ 
faid, would not have patience to fee us play the game out 
with our adverfaries : we muft produce our hand. It would 
be expedted, that thofe who for many years had been adlive 
in fuch aflFairs fhould Ihew, that they had formed fome clear 

• Mt. Rofc Fuller* 

and 



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34 SPEECHON 

and decided idea of the principles of colony go vcrn^TCnt ; 
and were capable of drawing out fomething like a plat- 
ibrm of the ground, which naight be laid for future and 
^^ermanent tranquillity* 

I felt the truth of what my hon. friend reprefented ; but 
1 felt my fituation .too. His application might have been 
made with far greater propriety to many other gentlemen* 
No man was indeed ever better difpofed, or worfe qualified, 
for fuch an undertaking than myfelf. Though I gave fo far 
into his opinion, that I immediately threw my thoughts 
;nto a fort of parliamentary form, I was by no means 
equally ready to produce them. It generally argues fome de- 
gree of natural impotence of mind, .or fome want of know- 
ledge of the world, to hazard plans of government, except 
jFrom a feat of authority. Propofilions are made, not only 
ineffecfluall^c, but fomewhat difreputably, when the minds 
of men are not properly difpofed for their reception ; and 
for my pajrt, I am not ambitious of ridicule ; not abfolutely 
a candidate for difgrace. 

Befides, Sir, to fpeak the plain truth, I have in general no 
very exalted opinion of the virtue of paper government; nor 
of any politicks, in which the plan is to be wholly feparated 
from the execution. But when I faw, that anger and violence 
prevailed every day more and more ; and that things were 
haftening towards an incurable alienation of our colonies ; I 
ponfefs my caution gave way. I felt this, as one of thofe few 
moments in which decorum yields to an higher duty. Public 
calamity is a mighty leveller ; and there are occaiions when 
any, even the flighteft, chance of doing good, muft be laid 
hold on, even by the moft inconliderable perfon. 

To reftore order and repofe to an empire fo great and fo 
diftradted as ours, is, merely in the attempt, an undertaking 
Ithat would ennoble the flights of the higheft genius, and 

obtain 



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CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. .i.; 

•obtain pardon for the efforts of the meaneft underltanding. 
Struggling a good while with thefe thoughts, by degrees I fck 
myfelf more firm. I derived, at length, fome confidence 
from what in other circiimftances nfually produces timidity. 
J grew lefs anxious, even from the idea of my own infigni- 
ficance. For, judging of what you are, by what you ought 
to be, I perfuaded myfelf, that you would not rejecSl a 
reafonable propofition, becaule it had nothing but its reafc^n 
to reconunend it. On the other hand, being totally delli- 
tute -of all fliadow of influence, natural or ailventitious, I 
was very fure, that, if my propofition were futile or dan- 
gerous ; if it were weakly conceived, or improperly timed, 
ihere was nothing exterior to it, of power to awe, dazzle, 
or delude you. You will fee it juft as it is ; and you will 
treat it juft as it deferves. 

The propofition is peace. Not peace through the medium 
of war; not peace to be hunted through the labyrinth of 
intricate and endlefs negociations ; not peace to arife out of 
^niverfal difcord, fomented, from principle, in all parts of 
the empire; not peace to depend on the juridical determi- 
nation of perplexing queftions ; or the precife marking the 
fhadowy boundaries of a complex government. It is Am- 
ple peace; fought in its natural courfe, and its ordinary 
haunts. — It is peace fought in the fpirit of peace; and laid 
in principles purely pacific. I propofe, by removing the 
ground of the difference, and by reftoring the former unfuf^ 
peBing confidence of the colonies in the mother country^ to give 
permanent fatisfadion to your people; and (far from a 
fcheme of ruling by difcord) to reconcile them to each 
other in the fame adt, and by the bond of the very fame 
intereft, which reconciles them to Britifh government. 

My idea is nothing more. Refined policy ever has beeij 
the parent of confufion ; and ever will be fo, as long as the 
world endures. Plain good intention, which is as eafily 

Vol. IL E difcovered 



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a6 SPEECHO^f 

difcovered at the firft view, as fraud is furely detected at 
laft, is, let me fay, of no mean force in the government of 
mankind. Genuine fimplicity of heart is an healing and 
cementing principle. My plan, therefore, being formed 
upon the moft fimple grounds imagihable, may difappoint 
fome people, when they hear it. It has nothing to recom- 
mend it to the pruriency of curious ears. There is nrthing 
at all new and captivating in it. It has nothing of the 
fplendor of the projedt, which has been lately laid upon your 
table by the noble lord in the blue ribband *. It does not 
propofe to fill your lobby with fquabbling colony agents^ 
who will require the interpofition of your mace, ^t every 
inftant, to keep the peace ataongft them. It does not infti- 
tute a magnificent auiStion of ^nance, where captivated 
provinces come to general ranfom by bidding againfl each 
other, until you knock down the hammer, and determine 
a proportion of payments, beyond all the powers of algebra 
to equalize and fettle. 

The plan, which I fhall prefume to fuggefl, derives^ 
however, one great advantage fron> the propofition and 
regiflify of that noble lord's prqjeft,. The idea of concilia- 

* ^' That when tb« governor, council^ or afleinbly».or general coarc, of any of his ms^* 
^ jefty's provinces or colonies in America, ihall propofi to make provifion, according t$^ 
^ the condition^ circum/lnnceSj and Jituation^ of fuch province or colony, for contributing 
**^ ihcirproporkon to the common defence (fuch proportion to be raifed under the authority of 
^ the genetai court, op general aflfembty, of fuch province or colony, anddifpoiable by par* 
** liament) and ifaall engage to make provifion alfo for the fupport of the civil govern- 
** ment^ and the admijiiftcatioa of juftice, in fiich province or colony, it will be proper, if 
** fuch propofal Jhall be approv$d by his majejty^ and the two houfes of parliament^ and for fo- 
« long as fuch provifion fhall be made accordingly, to forbear, in refpe£i of fuch province 
* or caloftyy to levy any duty,, tax,, orafleffment, or to impofc any farther duty, tax, or 
** affeffment, except fuch duties as it may be expedient to continue to levy or impofe, for 
** the regulation of commerce; the nett produce of the duties laft mentioned to be carried 
•* to the account of fuch province or colony rcfpedively/' Rcfolution moved by Lord 
l^orth in the cofnmittoej and agreed toby the houfe> 27 Feb. 1775* 

i tion 



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CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. V} 

tipn is admiflible. Firft, the houfe, in accepting the rcfo- 
lation moved: by the noble lord, has admitted, notwith- 
ftanding the menacing front of our addrefs, notwithftanding 
our heavy bill of pains and penalties — that we do not 
think ourfelves precluded from all ideas of free grace and 
bounty. 

The houfe has gone farther ; it has declared conciliation 
admiflible, previous to any fubmi0ion on the part of Ame- 
rica. . It has even ftiot a good deal beyond that mark, and 
has admitted, that the complaints of our former mode of 
exerting the right of taxation were not wholly unfounded. 
That right thus exerted is allowed to have had fome- 
thing reprehenlible in it ; fomething unwife, or fomething 
grievous : fince, in the midft of our heat and refentment, 
we, of oxirfelves, have propofed a capital alteration ; and, 
in order to get rid of what feemed fo very exceptionable, 
have inftituted a mode that is altogether new ; one that is, 
indeed, wholly alien from all the antient methods and forms 
of parliament. 

The principle of this proceeding is large enough for my 
purpofe. The means propofed by the noble lord for carry- 
ing his ideas into execution, I think indeed, are very indif- 
ferently fuited to the end ; and this I fhall endeavour to 
Ihew you before I fit down. But, for the prefent, I take my 
ground on the admitted principle. I mean to give peace. 
Peace implies reponciliation ; and where there has been a 
material difpute, reconciliation does in a manner always 
imply conceflion on the one part or on the other. In this 
ftate of things I make no difficulty in affirming, that the 
propofal ought to originate from us. Great and acknow- 
ledged force is not impaired, either in efFed or in opinion, 
by an unwillingnefs to exert itfelf . The fuperior power 
may ofier i)eace with honour and with" fafety. Such an' 

E 2 offer 



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28 S F E E C H O N 

offer from fuch a power will be attributed to magnanimity^ 
But the concellions^ of the weak are the conceffions of fear* 
When fuch a one is difarmecl, he is whoUy at the mercy of 
his .Superior ; and he lofes for ever that time and thofe 
chances, which, as they happen to all men> are the ftrength 
and refources of all inferior power. 

. The capital leading queftions on which you muft this day 
decide, are thefe two. Firft, whether you ought to con- 
cede; and fecondly, what yo-ur conceffion ought to be. On 
the firft of thefe queftions we have gained (as Ihave juft taken 
the liberty of obferving to you) fome ground. But I am fenfi- 
ble that a good deal more is ftill to be done. Indeed, Sir, to' 
enable us to determine both on the one and the other of 
thefe great queftions wdth a firm and precife judgnaent, I 
think it may be neceflary to confider diftindly the true na- 
ture and the peculiar circumftances of the obje6t which we 
have before us. Becaufe after aU our flxuggle, whether we 
will or not, we muft govern America, according to that nature,; 
and to thofe circumftances ; and not according to our owii 
imaginations ; not according to abftradt ideas of right ; by 
no means according to mere general theories of government, 
the refort to which appears to me, in our prefent fituation, 
no better than arrant trifling* I fliall therefore endeavour, 
with your leav^, to lay before you fome of the moft material 
of thefe circumftances in as full and as clear a manner as I 
am able to ftate them* 

The firft thing that we have to confider with regard to- 
the nature of the objeiil is— the number of people in the 
colonies* I have taken for fome years a good deal of pains 
on that point. 1 can by no calculation juftify myfelf in 
placing the number below two millions of inhabitants of 
our own European blood and colour ; befides at leaft 500.000 
others, who form no inconliderable part of the ftrength and 

opulence 



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CONTCILrATION WITH AMERICA. 09^ 

opulence of the whole. This, Sir, is, I believe, about the 
true number. There is no occafion to exaggerate, where 
plain truth is of fo much weight and importance. But 
whether I put the prefent numbers too high or too low, is a 
matter of little moment. Such is the Itrength with which 
population flioots in that part of the world, that It ate t he- 
numbers as high as wfc will, whilft the diipute continues,. 
the exaggeration ends. Whilft we are difculfing any giveni 
magnitude, they are grown to it. Whilft we fpend our 
time in deliberating on the mode of governing, two millions^. 
we ihall find we have millions more to manage. Your 
children do not grow fafter from infancy to manhood, than 
they fpread from families to communities, and from villages 
to nations^ 

I put this confideration of the prefent ami the growing 
numbers in the front of owr deliberation ; becaufe. Sir, this 
confideration will make it evident to a blunter difcernment 
than yours, that no partial, narrow, contracSted, pinched, oc- 
cafional fyftem will be at all fuitable to fitch an objedl. It 
will ftiew you^^that it is not to be confidered as one of thofe^ 
minima which are out of ^the eye and confideration of the 
law ; not a paltry excrefcence of the ttate ; not a mean de- 
pendant, who may be negledled with little damage, and 
provoked with little danger. It will prove, that fome de-- 
gree of care and caution is required in the handling fuch an. 
0b}ect ; it Avill fiiew, that you ought not,, in reafon, to trifle 
with {o large a mafs of the interefts and feelings of the hu- 
man race. You could at no time da fo without guilt ; and 
be afllired you will not be, able to do. it long with impu* 
nity. 

But the ix)puLition of thiscauntry, the great and growing* 
population,, thaugh a very important confideration, will lofe 
much of its weight, if not combined with other circum- 

llances. 



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3<» SPEEGHON" 

ftanceft. The commeree of your colonies ia out of all pro- 
portion beyond the numbers of the people. This ground 
of their commerce indeed has been trod fome days ago, and 
with great ability, by a diftinguiflied * perfon, at your bar. 
This gentleman, after thirty-five years — it is fo long fince 
he firft appeared at the fame place to plead for the com- 
merce of Great-Britain — has come again before you to plead 
the fame caufe, without any other effeft of time, than, that 
to the fire of imagination and extent of erudition, which 
even then marked him as one of the firft literary characters 
of his age, he has added a confuramate knowledge in the 
commercial intereft of his country, formed by a long courfe 
of enlightened and difcriminating experience. 

Sir, I fhoiild be inexcufable in coming after fuch a perfon 
with any detail ; if a great part of the members who now 
fill the houfe had not the misfortune to be abfent, when 
he appeared at your bar, Befides, Sir, I propofe to take the 
matter at periods of time fome what different from his. 
There is, if 1 miftake not, a point of view, from whence if 
you will look at this fubje6t, it is impofiible that it Ihould 
not make an imprefiion upon you, 

I have in my hand two accounts ; one a comparative ftate 
of the export trade of England to its colonies, as it ftood in 
the year 1704, and as it ftood in the year 1772, The other a 
ftate of the export trade of this country to its colonies alone, 
as it ftood in 1772, compared with the whole trade of Eng- 
land to all parts of the world (the colonies included) in the 
year 1704. They are from good vouchers; the latter period 
from the accounts on your table, the earlier from an origi- 
nal manufcript of Davenant, who firft eftablilhed the jn- 
fpe<5tor general's office, which has been ever fince his time 
fo abundant a fource of parliamentary information, 

* Mr. Glover. • 

The 



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CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. 31 

The (export trade to the colonies con lifts of three grt^at 
. branches. The African, which, terminating almoft wholly 
in the colonies, muft be put* to the account of their com- 
merce; the Weft Indian; and the North American. All 
thefe are £0 interwoven, that the attempt to feparate them,. 
would tear to pieces the contexture of the whole; and if 
not entirely deftroy, would very much depreciate the value 
of all the parts. I therefore confider thefe three denomina- 
tions to be, what in effect they are, one trade. 

The trade to the colonies, taken on the export fide, at 
the beginning of this century, that is, in the year 1704, 
ftDod thus : 

Exports to North America, and the Weft Indies - j^. 483,265 
To Africa ------ 86,665 



569>93o 



In the year 1772, which I take as a middle year between 
the higheft and loweft of thofe lately laid on your table, the 
account was as follows : 

To North America, and the Weft Indies - ^. 4,791,734 

To Africa 866,398 

To which if you add the export trade from Scot- 
land, which had in 1704 no exiftence - - 364,000 

6,024,171^ 



From five hundred and odd thoufand, it hns grown to fix 
millions. It has increafetl no lefs than twelve- fold. This 
is the ftate of the colony trade, as compared with itfelf at 
thefe two periods, within this century ; — and this is matter 
for meditation. But this is not alL Examine my fccontl ac- 
count. 



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33 SPEECHON 

count. See how the export trade to the cqlonies alone in 
1772 flood in the other ix)int of view, that is, as compared 
to the whole trade of England in 1704. 

The whole export trade of England, including that 

to the colonies, in 1704 - - - JC^^^Sog^ooo 

Export to the colonies alone, in 1772 - - 6,024,000 



Difference - 485,000 

The trade with America alone is now within lefs than 
500^060/. of being equal to what this great commercial na- 
tion, England, carried on at the beginning of this century 
with the whole w^orld I If I had taken the largeft year of thofe 
on your table, it would rather have exceeded. But, it will be 
faid, is not this American trade an unnatural protuberance, 
that has drawn the juices from the reft of the body? The 
reverfe. It is the very food that has nouriftied every other 
part into its prefent magnitude. Our general trade has 
been greatly augmented; and augmented more or lefs in al- 
moft every part to which it ever extended ; but with this 
material difference ; that of the fix millions which in the 
beginning of the century conftitutcd the whole mafs of our 
export commerce, the colony trade was but one twelfth 
part ; it is now (as a part of fixteen millioins) confiderably 
more than a thir^ of the whole. This is the relative pro- 
portion of the importance of the colonies at thefe two pe- 
riods-: and all reafoning concerning our mode of treating 
them muft have this proportion as its bafis ; or it is a rea- 
foning weak, rottea, and fophiftical. 

Mr. Speaker, J cannot prevail on myfdf .to hurry over 
this great confideration. It is good for us to be here. We 
ftand where we have an immenfe view of what is, and what 
is paft. Clouds indeed, and darknefe, reft upon the future. 

Let 



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CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA, 33 

Let us however, before we defcend from this noble emi- 
nence, refle<a that this growth of our national profperity 
has happened within the Ihort period of the life of man. 
It has happened within fixty-eight years. There are thofe 
alive whofe memory might touch the two extremities. For 
inftance, my Lord Bathurft might remember all the ftages 
of the progrefs. He was in 1704 of an age, at leaft to be 
made to comprehend fuch things. He was then old enough 
aSiaparentumjam legere^ et qute Jit poterit cognojcere virtus — 
Suppofe, Sir, that the angel of this aufpicious youth, fore- 
feeing the many virtues, which made him one of the moft 
amiable, as he is one of the moft fortunate men of his age, 
had opened to him in vifion, that, when, in the fourth ge- 
neration, the third prince of the houfe of Brunfwick had 
fat twelve years on the throne of that nation, which (by the 
happy ifllie of moderate and healing councils) was to be 
made Great Britain, he Ihould fee his fon. Lord Chancellor 
of England, turn back the current of hereditary dignity to 
its fountain, and raife him to an higher rank of peerage, 
whilft he enriched the family with a new one — If amidft 
thefe bright and happy fcenes of domeftic honour and pro- 
fperity, that angel Ihould have drawn up the curtain, and 
unfolded the rifing glories of his country, and whilft he was 
gazing with admiration on the then commercial grandeur 
of England, the genius ihould point out to him a little fpeck, 
fcarce vifible in the mafs of the national intereft, a fmall fe-p 
minal principle, rather than a formed body, and Ihould tell 
him — " Young man, there is America — which at this day 
** ferves for little more than to amufe you with ftories of 
" favage men, and uncouth manners ; yet fhall, before you 
" tafte of death, Ihew itfelf equal to the whole of that com- 
*^ merce which now attradls the envy of the world. What- 
^< ever England has been growing to by a progreffive in- 
Vol. II. F " creafe 



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34 SPEECH ON 

^* creafe of improvement, brought in by varieties of peoj^, 
<^ by fucceilion of civilizing conquefts and civilizing fettle-* 
*< ments in a feries of feventcen hundred years, you Ihall 
<^ fee as much added to her by America in the courfe of a 
*« fingle life T If this ftate of his country had been foretold 
to him, would it not require all the fanguine credulity of 
youth, and all the fervid glow of enthufiafm, to make hinob 
believe it ? Fortunate man^ he has lived to fee it ! Fortunate 
indeed, if he lives to fee nothing that Ihall vary the profpedt, 
and cloud the fetting of his day ! 

Excufe me. Sir, if turning from fuch thoughts I refume 
this comparative view once more. You have feen it on a 
large fcale ; look at it on a fmall one. I will point out to 
your attention a particular inftance of it in the fingle pro- 
vince of Penfylvania. In the year 1704 that province called 
for 11,459/. in Value of your commodities, native and fo- 
reign. This was the whole. What did it demand in 1772 ? 
Why nearly fifty times as much ; for in that year the export 
to Penfylvania was 507,9(^7. nearly equal to the export to 
all the colonies together in the firft period. 

I choofe, Sir, to enter into thefe minute and particular de- 
tails ; becaufe generalities,, which in all other cafes are apt to 
heighten and raife the fubje<a, have here a tendency to fink 
k. When we fpeak of the commerce with our colonies^ 
fi£lion lags after truth ; invention is unfruitful, and imagi- 
nation cold and barren. 

So far, Sir, as to the importance of the obje(5t in the view 
of its commerce, as concerned in the exports from England, 
If I were to detail the imports, I could fliew how many en-* 
joyments they procure, which deceive the burthen of life ; 
how many materials which invigorate the fprings of na-* 
tional induftry, and extend and animate every part of our 
foreign and donieflic commerce. This would be a curious 
3 fubje6t 



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CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. 35 

fubje<S); ind^edi-.-but I muft pr elfribe bounds tp myfelf ia a 
matter {o vaft and various. 

I pafs therefore to the colonies in another point of view, 
their agriculture. This they have profecuted with fuch a 
fpirit, that, befides feeding plentifully their own growing 
multitude, their annual export of grain, comprehending 
rice, has fome years ago exceeded a million in value. Of 
their laft harveft, I am perfuaded, they will exix)rt much 
more. At the beginning of the century, fome of thefe co- 
lonies imported corn from the mother country. For fome 
time paft, the old world has been fed from the new. The 
fcarcity which you have felt would have been a defolating 
famine ; if this child of your old age, with a true filial piety* 
with a Roman charity, had not put the full breaft of its 
youthful exuberance to the mouth of its exhaufted pa- 
rent. 

As to the wealth which the colonies have drawn from the 
fea by their fisheries, you had all that matter fully opened at 
your bar. You furejy thought thofe acquifitions of value ; 
for they feemedeven to excite your envy ; and yet the fpirit, 
by which that enterprizing employment has been exercifed, 
ought rather, in my opinion, to have raifed your efteem and 
admiration. And pray. Sir, what in the world is equal to 
it ? Pafs by the other parts, and loojc at the manner in which 
the people of New England have of late carried on the 
whale fiQiery. Whilft we follow them among the tumbling 
mountains of ice, and behold them penetrating into the 
deepeft frozen receffes of Hudfon's Bay, and Davis's Streights, 
whilft we are looking for them beneath the aritjlc circle, we 
hear that they have pierced jnto the oppofite region of jwlar 
cold, that they are at the antipodes, and engaged under the 
frozen ferpent of the fouth. Falkland Ifland, which feeraecj 
too remote and romantic an obje<St for the grafp of national 

F a ambition, 



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36 SPEECHON 

ambition, is but a ftage and refting-place in the progrefs of 
their vidtorious induftry. Nor is the equinoftial heat more^ 
difcouraging to them, than the accumulated winter of both 
the poles- We know that whilft fome of them draw the 
line and ftrike the harpoon on the coaft of Africa, others 
run the longitude, and purfue their gigantic game along the 
coaft of Brazil. No fea but what is vexed by their filheries. 
No climate that is not witnefs to their toils. Neither the 
perfeverance of Holland, nor the aftivity of France, nor 
the dexterous and firm fagacity of Englifti enterprizcf 
ever carried this moft perilous mode of hardy induftry to 
the extent to which it has been pufhed by this recent peo- 
ple ; a people who are ftill, as it were, but in the griftle, 
and not yet hardened into the bone of manhood. When 
1 contemplate thefe things; when I know that the colo- 
nies in general owe Httle or nothing to any care of ours, 
and that they are not fqueezed into this happy form by the 
conftraints of watchful and fufpicious government, but that 
through a wife and falutary negledt, a generous nature has 
been fuffered to take her own way to perfedtion : when I 
refledt upon thefe effedts, when I fee how profitable they 
have been to us, I feel all the pride of power fink, and all 
prefumption in the wifdom of human contrivances melt, and 
die away within me. My rigour relents. I pardon fome- 
thing to the fpirit of liberty. 

I am fenfible. Sir, that all which I have afl^erted in my 
detail, is admitted in the grofs ; but that quite a different 
coriclufion is drawn from it. America, gentlemen fay, is 
a noble obje6t. It is an obje£t well worth fighting for. 
Certainly it is, if fighting a people be the beft way of gain- 
ing them. Gentlemen in this refpecSt will be led to their 
choice of means by their complexions and their habits. 
Thofe who underftand the military art, will of courfe have 

fom« 



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CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. 37 

fome prediledlion for it. Thofe who wield the thunder of 
the ftate, may have more confidence in the efficacy of arms. 
But 1 confefs, poflibly for want of this knowledge, my 
opinion is much more in favour of prudent management, 
than of force; confidering force not as an odious, but a 
feeble inllrument, for preferving a people fo numerous, fo 
adtive, fo growing, fo fpirited as this, in a profitable and 
fubordinate conne<5tion with us. 

Firft, Sir, permit me to obferve, that the ufe of force alone 
is but temporary. It may fubdue for a moment ; but it does 
i^ot remove the neceffity of fubduing again : and a nation is 
not governed, which is perpetually to be conquered. 

My next objection is its uncertainty. Terror is not always 
the effedt of force ; and an armament is not a vi<5tory. If 
you do not fiicceed, you are without refource ; for, conci- 
liation failing, force remains ; but, force failing, no further 
hope of reconciliation is left. Power and authority are 
fometimes bought by kindnefs ; but they can never be 
begged as alms, by an impoverifhed and defeated violence. 

A further objedlion to force is, that you impair the objeB 
by your very endeavours to preferve it. The thing you 
fought for is not the thing which you recover ; but depre- 
ciated, funk, wafted, and confumed in the conteft. Nothing 
lefs will content me, than whole America. I do not choofe 
to confume its ftrength along with ovu: , own ; becaufe in 
all parts it is the Britifh ftrength that I confume. I do 
not choofe to be caught by a foreign enemy at the end of 
this exhaufting confliiSl ; and ftill lefs in the midft of it. 1 
may efcape ; but I can make no infurance againft fuch an 
event. Let me add, that I do not choofe wholly to break 
the American fpirit, becaufe it is the fpirit that has made 
the country. 

Laftly^ we have no fort of experience in favour of force 

as 



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38 SPEECH ON 

as an inftrument in the rule of our colanies. Their growth 
and their utility has been owing to methods altogether dif- 
ferent. Our antient indulgence has been faid to be purfued 
to a fault. It may be fo. But we know, if feeling is evi- 
dence, that our fault was more tolerable than our attempt 
to mend it ; and our fin far more falutary than our peni- 
tence. 

Thefe, Sir, are my reafons for not entertaining that high 
opinion of untried force, by which many gentlemen, for 
whofe fentiments in other particulars I have great refpe6t, 
feem to be fo greatly captivated. But there is ftill behind a 
third confideration concerning this object, which ferves to 
determine my opinion on the fort of policy which ought to 
be purfued in the management of America, even more 
than its population and its commerce, I mean its temper and 
cbaraSfer. 

In this character of the Americans, a love of freedom is 
the predominating feature, which marks and diftinguifties 
the whole : and as an ardent is always a jealous afFe<5tion, 
your colonies become fufpicious, reftive, and untradtable, 
whenever they fee the leaft attempt to wreft from them by 
force, or Ibuffle from them by chicane, what they think 
the only advantage worth living for. This fierce fpirit of 
liberty is ftronger in the Englifli colonies probably than in 
any other people of the earth ; and this from a great variety 
of powerful caufes ; which, to underftand the true temper 
of their minds, and the direcStion which this fpirit takes, it 
will not be amifs to lay open fomewhat more largely. 

Firft, the people of the colonies are defcendents of Eng- 
liftimen. England, Sir, is a nation, which ftill I hope refpedts, 
and formerly adored, her freedom. The colonifts emigrated 
from you, when this part of your charadter was moft pre- 
dominant; and they took this biafs and direction the mo- 
ment 



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CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. 39 

ment they parted from your hands. They are therefore 
not only devoted to liberty, but to liberty according to 
Engjilh ideas, and on Englifh principles. Abftradt liberty, 
like other mere abflara^ljions, is not to be founds Liberty 
inheres in fom© fenfible object; and every nation has 
fomnied to itfelf fon>e favourite point, which by way of 
eminence becomes the ciiterion of their happinefs. It hap* 
pened, you know. Sir, that the great contefts foi freedom 
in this country were from the earlieft times Chiefly upon 
the queftion of taxing. Moft of the coiitefts in the antient, 
commonweahhs turned primarily on the right of eledtion of 
magtfttates ; or on the balance among the feVeral orders of 
the ftate. The queftion of money was not with them fo* 
inimediate* But in EngUnd it was othefwife. On this. 
point of taxes the ableft pens^ and moft eloqalent tonguesy. 
have been exereifed ; the greateft fpirits have a<fted and< 
fufiered. In order to give the f ulleft fatisfadtion concerning 
the importance of this point, it was not only neceffary for 
thofe who in argument defended the excellence of the Eng- 
H(h conftitution, to infift on this privilege of grantifyg money 
as a dry point of fadly and to prove, that the right had beea 
acknowledged in antient parchments^ and blind ufages, to 
refide in a certain body calkd an houfe of commons. They 
went much further; they attempted to prove, and they 
fucceeded, that in theory it ought to be fo, from the parti'- 
eiilar nature of a houfe of commons,, as an immediate repre- 
fehtative of the people ; whether the old records had 
delivered this oracle or not. They took infinite pains tO' 
inculcate, as a fundamental principle, that^ in all mo^ 
narchies, the people muft in effedt themfelves mediately or 
immediately poflefs the power of granting their own money,, 
or no (hadow of liberty could fubfift. The colonies draw 
from yoU| as with their life-blood, thefe ideas and princi*- 

plcs.. 



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40 S P E E C H O N 

pies. Their love of liberty, as with you, fixed and attached 
on this fpecific point of taxing. Liberty might be fafe, or 
might be endangered in twenty other particulars, without 
their being much pleafed or alarmed. Here they felt its 
pulfe ; and as they found that beat, they thought them- 
felves fick or found. I do not fay whether they were right or 
wrong in applying your general arguments to their own 
cafe. It is not eafy indeed to make a monopoly of theorems 
and corollaries. The faiSt is, that they did thus apply thofe 
general arguments ; and your mode of governing them, 
whether through lenity or indolence, through wifdom or 
miftake, confirmed them in the imagination, that they, as 
well as you, had an intereft in thefe common principles. 

They were further confirmed in this pleafing error by 
the form of their provincial legiflative aflemblies. Their 
governments are popular in an high degree ; fome are merely 
popular; in all, the popular reprefentative is the mod 
weighty; and this ftiare of the people in their ordinary 
government never fails to infpire them with lofty fenti- 
ments, and with a ftrong averfion from whatever tends to 
deprive them of their chief imi>ortance. 

If any thing were wanting to this neceffary operation of 
the form of government, religion would have given it a 
complete efFedt. Religion, always a principle of energy, in this 
new people, is no way worn out or impaired; and their mode 
of profeliing it is alfo one main caufe of this free fpirit. 
The people are proteftants ; and of that kind, which is the 
mod adverfe to all implicit fubmiflion Of mind and opinion. 
This is a perfuafion not only favourable to liberty, but built 
upon it. I do not think, Sir, that the reafon of this averfe- 
nefs in the difTenting churches from all that looks like ab- 
folute government is fo much to be fought in their religious 
tenets, as in their hiftory. Every one knows, that the 

Roman 



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CONGILIATIOI^ WITH AMERICA. 41 

Roman Catibolick rdigioh is at leaft coeval' with inoft of the 
governments where it prevails; that it has generally gone 
hand in hand with them ; and received great favour and every 
kind of fupport from authority. The churcli of England too. 
was formed from her cradle under the' nurfing care of regular 
government. But thediflfenting intereffs have fprung up 
in direft oppofition to all the ot-dlnairy powers of the world ; 
and -could juftify that oppofition only on a ftrong claim to 
natural liberty. Their very exiftence depended on the 
powerful and utiremitted aflertion of that daiml • AU pro- 
teftantifm, evefi the raoft cold and paflive, is a fort of^ 
diflent. But the religion liaoft prevalent in our "northietti 
colonies is a refinement on the principle of refittancej it is 
the difijdence of diffeht; and the proteftantifm of the pro- 
teftant religion. T^i§ rdigibn, undir a variety of denomi- 
nations, agreeirtg in notliing but in the communion of the. 
Spirit of liberty, is. predominant in moft of the northern • 
province?; wheire the church of England, not withftand- 
ing its legal rights, is in teality no more than a fort of 
private fe^, not compofing mo^ probably the tenth of the 
people^ The colonifts left England when this fpirit was 
high; and iii the emigrants was the higheft of all : and even 
that ftream of foreigners, which has been conftantly flow- 
ing into thefe. colonies, has, for the greateft pat, been 
compofed .of diffenters from the eftabliiliments of their 
feve^al cduntr)[e$i an^ have brought with them a temper 
and chara^lei: faj' from alien t:o ^at of the people with 
whdm they niixed. 

Sir, I can perceive by their' manqer, that fome gentlemen 
obje(St to the' latitude of this defcription ; becaufe in the 
fouthem colonies the church of England fonns a lai;ge body, 
and has a regular eftablilhment. It is ciertainly true. There 
is however a circum[ftarice attending thefe colonies, which, 
in my opinion, • fully cbxiiiterbaltoces this difference, and 
Vol. II. G makes 



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44 : $ P P E C; H O N 

makes the fpirit of liberty ftill more high and Uavghty 
than in thofe to the northward. It is that in Virginiarand 
the Carolinas, they have a vaft multitude of flaves. Where 
this is the cafe in any part of the world, thofe who are free, 
are by f^r the moljb proud apd, jealous, of their free^m. 
Freedpm is to them npt c^ly an pnjoyment, but a kind of 
rank ?nd privilege. Not feeing there, that freedom, as in 
countries where it is a commcm bleiling, and as broad and 
general as the air, may be united with much abjedt toil, 
with great mifery, with all the exterior of i}^vitude, liberty 
l9okf ). amongft then\^ like fomething that is more noble and 
liberal,, 1 4o not mean, Sir, to commend the fuperior mo- 
rality of this fentipaentj wliich ha? at leaft as much pride as 
virtue in it; but I cannot alter the nature of man. The 
f;»% is ib; and thefe. people of the, fouthem colonies are 
much moire ftrongly, and; with an hijgher and more ftub- 
bofTfl fpirit, attac^Qd to liberty than thofe to the northw^cl. 
Such were all the antient commpnweailths ; iuch.were our 
Gpthick anceftors; fuch in our days were the Poles; and 
fuch\y^ll bejallrmaflers of flaves, ly ho are not .flaves thetn- 
felves. In fuch a people the li^ughtin^f^ of domination 
combines with tjv? fpirit pi, freedom^ fortifies it, and .reri-r. 
ders it invin^bljs. . 

Permit me. Sir, to add another circumftance in our colo- 
nies,; which contributes no mean part towards the growth 
and effe6l of thiS'.untracStable. fpirit. I. mean, their, edu- 
cation. In lio eountcy; jpe^-h^s in the world is the Uw 
fo general a ftudy. The profeffioii itfelf is. numerous., 
and powerful ; and in molt provinces it takes the lead- 
The greater number of the deputies fent to the con- 
gref? .were lawyers < . But ^\\ whp read, .and mpft , do 
read, endeavpur to obtain fome fmattering in that fcieu9e» 
I have been, told by .^n. eminent bo9k.rellerjj that in' no. 
branch of his bufinefs,' after trades of popular devotion, ' 

were 



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CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. 49 

wfere €0 tnany books as thofe oh die law exported to the 
plantations. The oolonifts have now fallen into the way of 
printing them for their own iife. I hear that they have 
•fold nearly as many of Blackftone?s commentaries in Ame- 
xica as in England. General Gage marks out this difpofitidn 
^^ry particulaiiy in a letter on your table. He Urates^ that all 
the pBi^lei hi hds govternment are lawyers^ or fmatterers in 
law; and that in Boilron they have been enabled, by fiicr- 
•cefsfiil chicane, wholly to evade many parts of one of your 
capital penal conftitutions. The fraartnefs of debate will 
fay, that this knowledge ought to teach tiiem more dearly 
the rights of l^flature, their obligations to obedience, arid 
the j)enahies of rebdlioh. All diis iis mighty wdl. Bnt 
my # h(»iourable and learned friend on the floor, who oon- 
dedfcmds to mark what 1 fay for animadverfion, will difdain 
that ground. Hs has heatd, . as well as I, that when great 
honoti^ and great Emoluments do not win over this know- 
ledge to die fervice of the ftate, it is a formidable adverfary 
to government. If the fpirit be not taiUned and broken by 
thefe happy n^thods, it is ftubbom and litigious, jibeunt 
yiuHa m mores. This ftudy renders men acute, inquiiitive, 
de^tetotts, prompt in attack, ready in defence, fufl xif te- 
^reeft. In o^er countries, d&e pec^ple, more Ample and 
of a lefs merctirial caft, judge of Jkn ill principle in govern- 
ment only by an a<Stual grievance ; here they anticipate the 
evil, and judge of the preflure of the grievance by the bad- 
nefs of the principle. They augur mifgovernment at a 
diibtnce; and fnuff the approach of tyranny in every tainted 
breeze. 

The 1^ caufe of this difobedStot fj^rit ini the colonies is 
hardly Id^ potirerfui than the reft,' as it is not ttierely mora), 
butldid (lee|> in i&e natural cohl^tutiob of things. Three 

* iTw Attombjr Genehd* 

G 2 thoufand 



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'44 S P E E.C H :0 N >. 

thoufarid miles of ocean lie betwen you and diem.r No 
contrivance can prevent the e£fe<St of this diiliince, in weak- 
ening government. Seas roll, and months pafs, between tiie 
order and the execution : and the want of a fpeedy explana- 
tion of a iingle point, is enough to defeat an whole fyftem. 
You have, indeed, winged minifters of vengeance, who 
carry your bolts in their pounces to the remoteft verge of 
thefea. But there a power fteps in, that limits the arro- 
gance of raging pafiions and furious elements, and fays, 
'* So far flialt thou go, and no farther.** Who are you, that 
fhould fret aod.rage, and bite the chains of nature?— No- 
thing worfe happens to yoii, thaii does to all! nations, who 
have .extenfive emjHre; and it happens: in. all the forms 
into which empire can be thrown. In large bodies, the 
circulation of power muft be kfs vigoroiis at the extre- 
mities. Nature has faid it. .The Turk cannot goveafn 
i^gypt, and Arabia, and Cuitliftani, as he goy^ns Thrace; 
nor has he the fame dominion in Ctiiisea atid. Algi&6, which 
he has at Brufa and:Smyinia.' B^potifm itfelf is 'obliged 'to 
truck and huckfter. - The Sultan gets fuch obedience as he 
can. He governs with a.ldofe;re)n) that, he may govern at 
all; and the whole of th<^ force. ao^* vigour of his. authority 
in his centre, i&iderlVed fromt ^prudent) r^ia^dtiop in ^ hjis 
•boocders.. SpainoLini her prpvinc?^, is, p^haps, npt'fp weU 
obeyedj'as you .are. in your&w. She tompJies too; ijie^ fub- 
mits; fl>e Watche». times.. jThisis the immutable cpnditjm; 
.theetemallawj of .extenfive and detached empire, .-. : . 
\ Then, Sir, from thefe fix capital- fourc^jfof defcent;. of 
form of government ; of religion in the northern provinces.; 
of raapn^rs in the fouthem j of education ; of the rempte- 
.riefs of iltuation from the.firft mover of. government ; from 
all tl\efe.caufe^ a jfi^rce., spirit pf liberty has grown:.\>R..f ft 
has grown with the gjTQWth of the people in your colonies, 
: • ., '■ :a : :■ an4 



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C0NCILIATI01*r WITH ATMERICA. 45 

and encreafed with the encreafe of their Wealth ; a fpirit, 
that unhappily meeting with ^exerci£e of power in Eng- 
landy which, however lawful, is not reconcileable to any 
ideas of liberty, much lefs with theirs, has kindled this flame> 
that is ready to confume us, 

I do not mean to commend either the fpirit in this excefs, 
or the moral caufes which produce it. Perhaps a more 
fbiooth and accommodating fpirit of freedom in them would 
be more a(cceptable to us. Perhaps ideas of liberty might 
be defired, more reconcileaUe with an arbitrary and bound- 
lefe 'authority. Perhaps we might wifli the colonifts to be 
perfuaded, that their liberty is mc^cc fecure when held in 
trail .for them by us (as their guardians during a perpetual 
minority) than with; any part of it in their own hands. But 
&e queftion ^ not whbther their fpirit deferves praiie or 
bkmeV^-what, in the name xif Godt'lhaU wc/db «Hth it? 
¥€Mihave;beforeyouthie'obje(ft;"fttdh aj it i5,'.\ntli'aU its 
gldricB, with ^ its hnjierfe^ic^'oh its-head* You fee the 
magnitude; the importance.;. the temper; the habits; the 
di&rders. By all .tb^e cdnfidei-ations^ we'-are iftrongly 
tirgedit6:'detdrmani:lQinetUng«oncenlitig<it.> We are called 
Upon ta fix: ibme'icuJe'and.iinei:f0r our future condu<St,' 
ifitlush imiaf 'giJi^aJittteifblMitt to/oar politics^ ahd prevent 
the Tetm^ of fudh unhappy deliberations as the pre&nt. 
Every fudi return will brin^ the matlfer before us in afiill 
moi%»JQiitcaidib]e:£Drifaw .Far,'What aftonilhing'and iocrediv 
|>let3iingshavfe Live .hot Teen already? Wbot 'modftei^ (havb 
not been gener^ted/frbm: iius undatiiral pedtention i Whilft 
every primciptebf adthei^and refiftandc has been puihed, 
upon both fides, as for as ' it f would gpj there is hodnihg fo 
iblidahd ociQiiii* dtUtr iii^rteibniiig'dr inipraiStice^ that has 
not been (haken^.iiiFiitil 3W^.Iatci^^ a^audibiity in Ame- 
ntit, ieefaKd.tanlieviiqj(|aui]^ bvrit >(» e^ - ymurs. 

c^yii.'j \ Even 



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46 SPEECH OK 

Even the popular part of the colony conftitutioit derived afi 
its a<5tivity, and its firft vital movement>^ from the pliRfriireraf 
the crown. We thought, Sir, that the utmoft which the 
difcontented colonifts could do, was to diiturb authority; 
we never dreamt they could of themfelvea.fupplyit; kiraw* 
ing in general what an o^rofe bulmefs it is, to eftablilh 
a government abfojutely new. But having, for our pur* 
pofes in this contention, refolved, that none but an obtdient 
affembly fhould fit, the humours of tjie (People thercj Sittd*- 
ing all paflage through the legal channel itopped, with great 
violence broke out another way. Some provinces have tried 
their experiment, as we have tried ours; and theirs has iiiC'' 
ceeded. They have formed a government fufficient for its 
purpofes, without the buftle of a revolution, or flie trouble- 
fome formality of an elediioo. Evident neceffity, and tadt 
confer have ddne the. bufinefe hi an inffcant. So w«H they 
have donib it, that i.ord ]Dunmone(the account. is among the 
fragments on your table) tells yoii^ that die new inltitution 
is infinitely better obeyed than the antic^t govemiiient ever 
was in its moft fortaoateperiods. Obedience is what makes 
government) and not. die nam^ by wlilcii it is dalled; iiot 
the name of govBrnor^ as formerly, or . coihrnittee* as at 
prefent. This new governrniait . has orj^gixxated dit«5)[ly 
from the people ; and was not tranftnitted through any of 
the ordinary artificial m«dia of a pofitive conftitudon. It 
was not a manufadhure ready, fc^med^ abd tranfinitted to 
dicsa in that coodition from England.' Tlie evil aniin^ 
fn>m hence is this ; that the ooioiiifls having atax found the 
pofiibility of enjoying the advantages of otdeT, in the midA 
of a ftm^e for liberty^ fuch ffaruggles will Jiot hedcefor^ 
ward ^m fo terrible to the fettled andfober ipaft of n&an- 
kind» as they had appeaited before the triaL ; . 
Purfuing Hie fame piaa of puniihiBg by &« denial of the 

4 exercife 



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CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. 47 

exerciifi of government to ftill greater lengths, we wholly 
abrogated the patient: government oC MaflachuTet. We 
were confident» that the firft feeling, if not the very pro- 
ipedt of anarchy, would inftantly enforce a compleat fub- 
miffion. The experiment was tried. A new, ftrange, un- 
expefted face of things appeared. Anarchy is found toler-* 
able. A vaft province has now fubfifted, and fubiifted in a 
coniiderable degree of health and vigour, for near a twelve- 
month, without governor, without public council, without 
judges, without executive magiftrates. How long it will 
condnue in this ftate, or what may arife out of this un- 
heard-of fituation, how cap the wifeft of us conjedbire? 
Our late experieaoe has tai^t nsy that m;^y of thofe fun- 
damental principles, formerly b^ieved infallible, are either 
not of the importance they were imagined to be; or that we 
have not at aU-adTdited to faiae< other far more important, 
and far more powerfcd principles, virhicl^ entirdy over-rule 
thofe wOihsd-coi]i(idet);d as omnipcAeojt< I am much againlt 
any farther: esi^crimsiats, w^ich tend to put to the proof any 
iQDce of thefe allowed opinions, which contribute fo much 
tptiBe-pabUQitcalyifiillityi. If^ ^e^ wefuff^ as;m\ich at 
haiin£,.bytbit;lp0femng;of all.'tie&j ^nd this cpticu^ion of 
all eftablilh^ ofyknaons, .a$ \9« do( abroad.. iJfotti In- order tO; 
pcloite, that, the .AntQricaA3 have no right to; their liberties, 
we am every day endeavouring to fuhvert the maxipas 
wiach.pre^Ewvt) tK^^ whole fpirit of our own» To prov^ that, 
tiki AiDeincass.oiughtinet.tQ bQ fr^e^; we are obliged to de-. 
plsoiate the Yalu^ 1^ ireedum itf^lC;; ^d we never fe^nto. 
gaiii a paltry advant^ over them in debate, without at-; 
ticking iome qf thofe principles, of deriding fome of tho£e 
fdeliogs, foi? which our anceftors have ihed their blood. 

Bnt^ Sir, . in wB&ung Iq ptttan ond to pernicious experi* 
inems^.I doinot-tneanJa preclude the fuHQll enquiry. Far 

from 



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4$ S P EE C H O N" w ., } 

from it. Far frontt deciding oh a fudden or partial view, I. 
would patiently go round and round the fubje<ft, and furvcy . 
it minutely in every poffible afpedt. Sir, if I were capable ' 
of engaging you to an equal attention, I would ftate, that, 
as far as I am capable of difcerning, there, are but three 
ways of proceeding relative to this ftubbom fpirit, which 
prevails in your colonies, and difturbs youi! government* 
Theie are — ^To change that fpirit, as inconvenient, by. re- 
moving the caufes. To profecute it as criminal. Or, to 
comply with it as neceflary. I would not be guilty of an 
imperfect enumeration; I can think of but theTe three. • 
Another has indeed been ftarted, that of giving up the Glo- 
mes $ but it met fo ilight a reception, that I do not think 
myfelf obliged to dwell a great while upon it. It is nothing 
but a little fally of anger; like the frowardnefs of peeviih 
diildren ; who, ivhen they cannot get all the}!! would have, • 
are refolved to take nothing. . • •. 

The firft of thefe ]jlto6, to change the ipirit'asiiacoave- 
iiient» by removing the caufes, I think is the moft like, a 
fyflematick proceeding. It is radical in its principle ; but it 
is attended with great difficulties, fome of tbein little' fliorfi 
as I conceive, of impoffibiUties. This will"^q>pe:&: by taor 
mining into the plans which ha^re be«i piiopoied. ' j 

As the growing population in the coloiiies is evidratly 
one caufe of their refiilance, it was laft feiiibn mentioned in 
both houles, by men of weight, and received not wfithout 
apifdaufe, that, in order to check thi& evD, it would be. 
proper for the crown to make no further gntms of land. 
But to this fcheme, there are two obfedUons. . The firft, 
that there is already fo muchunfettled land in private hands, 
as to afford room for an immenfe future population, al-. 
though the crown not only withheld its grants, but .anni- 
hilated it^ ioil. If this be the cafe, then the only effe^ of 

this 



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CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. 49- 

this avarice of defolation, this hoarding of a royal wilder- 
nefe^ would be to raife the value of the pofleffions in the 
hands of the great private monopolifts, without any ade- 
quate check to the growing and alarming mifchief of popu- 
lation. 

But, if you Hopped your grants, what would be the con- 
fequence ? The people would occupy without grants. They 
have already fo occupied in many places. You cannot ftation 
garrifons in every part of thefe deferts. If you drive the 
people frorn one place, they will carry on their annual 
tillage, and remove with their flocks and herds to another. 
Many of the people in the back fettlements are already little 
attached to particular Situations. Already they have topped 
the Apalachian mountains. From thence they behold before 
them an immenfe plain, one vail, rich, level meadow; a 
iquare of five hundred miles. Over this they would wander, 
without a poflibility of reftraint ; they would change their 
manners with the habits of their life; would foon forget a 
government, by which they were difowned ; would become 
hordes of Englifti Tartars; and, pouring down upon your 
unfortified frontiers a fierce and irrefiftible cavalry, become 
mafters of your governors and your counfellors, your col- 
lectors and comptrollers, and of aU the flaves that ad- 
hered to them. Such would, and, in no long time, muft 
be, the effect of attempting to forbid as a crime, and to 
fupprefs as an evil, the command and blefling of Providence, 
" Encreafe and multiply." Such would be the happy refult 
of an ^deavour to keep as a lair of wild beafts, that earth, 
which God, by an exprefs charter, has given to the children 
of. men. Far different, and furely much wifer, has been 
our policy hitherto. Hitherto we have invited our people 
by every kind of bounty, to fixed eftablifliments . We 
have invited the Huibandman, to look to authority for his' 

VdL. II. H title. 



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50 SPEECHON 

title. We have taught him pioufly to believe iu the myfte- 
rious virtue of wax and parchment. We have thrown eacU 
trail of land, as it was peopled, into diftrids ; that the 
ruling power fhould never be wholly out of fight. We 
have fettled all we could ; and we have carefully attended 
every fettlement with government. 

Adhering, Sir, as I do, to this policy, as well as for the rea- 
fons I have juft given, I think this new project of hedging- 
in population to be neither prudent nor pradlicable. 

To impoverifti the colonies in general, and in particular 
to arreft the noble courfe of their marine enterprizes, would 
be a more eafy talk. 1 freely confefs it. We have Ihewn a 
difpofition to a fyftem of this kind; a difpoiition; even to 
continue the reftraint after the offence; looking on our- 
felves as rivals to our colonies, and perfuaded that of courfe 
we mujft gain all that they fliall lofe. Much raifchief we 
may certainly do. The power inadequate to all other things, 
is often more than fufficient for this,; I do not look on the 
diredl and immediate power of the colonies to refift our 
violence, as very forqiidablc. In this^ however, I may be 
miftaken. But when I cottlnler, th^t, we have coiLonies for 
no purpoTe but to be ferviceable to u^, it feems to my poor 
underfbnding alittle prejioileroMS^ to tp^ke them.unfervice- 
able, in order to keep them pbediem. It is,, in. truth, 
nothing more than the old, and, a? I ^bought, exploded 
problem of tyranny, which propofes. to beggar its fial)je6^s 
into fubmiffion- But, rememberi when you have com- 
pleated your fyftem of impoveriftiroem> that nature ftill 
proceeds in her ordinary courfe; that difcontent vgill inr 
creafe with mifery ; and that there are critical moments in 
the fortune of all ftates, wheathey, who are too weak to 
contribute to your profperity,r raay be flirong enough to 
comi?lete yoiu* ruin. Spiliatis armajt4p9rfunt. 

The 



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CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. 51 

The temper and charadter, which prevail in our colonies, 
are, I am afraid, unalterable by any human art. We can- 
not, I fear, falfify the pedigree of this fierce people, and 
perfiiade them that they are not fprung from a nation, in 
whofe ve^n^ the blood of freedom circulates. The language 
in which they would hear you tell them this tale, would 
detect the impofition ; your fpeech would betray you. An 
EnglKhman is the unfitted perfon on earth, to argue ano- 
ther Englifhman into flavery. 

I think it i^ fteiirly afc little in our power to change their 
republican religidn, as their free defcent ; or to fubftitute 
the Roman Catholick, as a penalty ;• or the church of Eng- 
land, as an improvement* The nwd^ of inquifition and 
dragootning, is going out of fafliion in the old world ; and 
I (hould not confide much to their eflicacy in the new. 
The education of the 1 Americans is alfo on thfe fame unal- 
terable bottom with theirj religion. You cannot perfuade 
them to burn their book^ of curious fcience; to banifh 
their lawyers from their courts of law ; or to quench the 
lights of their affemblies, by refufing to choofe thofe per- 
fons who are beft read in their privileges. It would be no 
lefs impracticable to think of wholly annihilating the po- 
pular affemblies, in which thefe lawyers fit. The army, 
by which we muft govern in their place, would be fair 
more chargeable to us ; not quite fo effectual ; and perhaps, 
in the end, full as difficult to be kept in obedietice. 

Willi regard to the high ariftocratick fpirit of Virginia 
and the fduthem colonies, it has been propofcd, I know,' 
to reduce it, by declaring a general enfranchifement of their 
flaves- This proje(St has had its advocates and panegyrifts ; 
yet I never could argue myfelf into any opinion of it. Slaves 
are often much attached to tlveir matters* A general wild 
oSkr of liberty, would not always be accepted. Hiftory 

H 2 furnilhes 



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52 SPEECH ON 

furnifhes few inftances of it* It is fometimes as hard tc? 
perfuade Haves to be free, as it is to compel freemen to be 
flaves ; and in this aufpicious fcheme, we fhould have both 
thefe pleafing talks on our hands at once. But when we 
talk of enfranchifement, do we not perceive that the Ame- 
rican mafter may enfranchife too ; and arm fervile hands in 
defence of freedom ? A raeafure to which other people have 
had recoiirfe more than once, and not without fuccefs, in a 
defperate fituation of their affairs. 

Slaves as thefe unfortunate black people are, and dull as 
all men are from llavery, muft they not a little fufpedt the 
offer of freedom from that very nation which has fold 
them to their prefent maflers ? From that nation^ one of 
whofe caufes of quarrel with thofe maders, is their refufal 
to deal any more in that inhuman traffick? An offer of 
freedom from England, would come rather oddly, fhipped 
to them in an African vpflel, which is refufed an entry into 
the ports of Virginia or Carolina, with a cargo of three 
hundred Angola negroes. It would be curious to fee the 
Guinea captain attempting at the fame inflant to publifh 
his proclamation of liberty, and to advertifc his fale of 
flaves. 

But let us fuppofe all thefe moral difficulties got over. 
The ocean remains. You cannot pump this dry ; and as 
long as it continues in its prefent bed, fo long all the caufes 
which weaken authority by diftance will continue. << Ye 
« gods, annihilate but fpace and time, and make two lovers 
^< happy V — was a pioiis and paffionate prayer; — but juft as 
reafonable, as many of the ferious wilhes of very grave and 
folemn politicians. 

If then. Sir, it feems almoft defperate to thmk of any 
alterative courfe, for changing the moral caufes (and not 
quite eafy to remove the natural) which produce prejudices 

irreconcileable 



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CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA- 53 

irreGoncileable to the late exercife of our authority ; but 
that the fpirit infallibly will continue; and, continuing^ 
will produce fuch eflfe<Sts, as now embarrafs us ; the fecood 
mode under confideration is, to profecute that fpirit in its 
overt adts, as criminal. 

. At this propofition, I muft paufe a moment. The thing 
feems a great deal too big for my ideas of jurifprudence. It 
ihould feem, to my way of conceiving fuch matters, that 
there is a very wide difference in reafon and policy, between 
the mode of proceeding on the irregular condudt of fcattered 
individuals, or even of bands of men, who difturb order 
within the ftate, and the civil diffentions which may, from 
time to time, on great queftions, agitate the feveral com- 
munities which compofe a great empire. It looks to me 
to be narrow and pedantic, to apply the ordinary ideas of 
criminal juftice to this great public conteft. I do not know 
the method of drawing up an indi6traent again ft an whole 
people. I cannot infult and ridicule the feelings of millions 
of my fellow creatures, as Sir Edward Coke infulted one 
excellent individual (Sir Walter Raleigh) at the bar. Jam 
not ripe to pafs fentence on the graveft public bodies, en- 
trufted with magiftracies of great authority and dignity, 
and charged with the fafety of their fellow-citizens, upon 
the very fame title that I am* I really think, that for wile 
men, this is not judicious ; for fober men, not decent ; for 
minds tindured with humanity, not mild and merciful. 

Perhaps, Sir, I am miftaken in my idea of an empire, as 
diftinguiflied from a fingle ftate or kingdom. But my idea 
of it is this ; that an empire is the aggregate of many ftates, 
under one common head; whether this head be a monarch, 
or a preliding republic. It does, in fuch conftitutions, fre- 
quently happen (and nothing but the difmal, cold^ dead 
uniformity of fcrvitude can prevent its happening) that the 

fubordinatc 



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54 S P E E C H O N 

fiibordinate parts have many local privileges and immuni- 
ties. Between thefe privileges, and the fupreme common 
authority, the line may be extremely nice. Of courfe dif- 
jmtes, often too, very bitter difputes, and much ill blood, 
will arife. But though every privilege is an exemption (in 
the cafe) from the ordinary exercife of the fupreme autho- 
rity, it is no denial of it. The claim of a privilege feems 
rather, ex vi terMim\ to imply a fuperior power. For to 
talk of the privileges of a ftate or of a perfon, who has no 
fuperior, is hardly any better than fpeaking nonfenfe. Now, 
in fuch unfortunate quarrels, among the component parts 
of a great political union of communities, I can fcarcelvr 
conceive any thing more compleatly imprudent, than for 
the head of the empire to in fi ft, that. If any privilege is 
pleaded againft his will, or his adts, that his whole authority 
is denied ; inftdntly to proclaini rebellion, to beat to arms, 
and to put the offending provincbs under the ban. Will 
not this, Sir, very foon teach the provinces to make no dif- 
tiuiSlions on their part ? Will it not teach them that the go- 
vernment, againft which a claim of liberty is tantamount to 
high-treafon, is a government to which fubmiffion is equi- 
valent to flavery ? It may not always be quite convenient to 
imprefs dependent communities with fuch an idea. 

We are, indeed, in all difputes with the colorties, by the 
neceflity of things, the judge. It is true. Sir, But I con- 
fefs, that the character of judge in my own caufe, is a thing 
that frightens me. Inftead of filling me with pride, 1 am 
exceedingly humbled by it, I cannot proceed with a ftern, 
aflured, judicial confidence, until I find myfelf in fomething 
more like a judicial character. I muft have thefe hefitations 
as long as I am compelled to recollc6t, that, in my little 
reading upon fuch contefts as thefe, the fenfe of mankind 
has, at leaft, as often decided againft the fuperior as^ the 

8 fubordinate 



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CONGILIATJON WITH AMERICA. 55 

fubordinate power. Sir, let me add too, that the opinion of 
my having Ibme abftradt right in my favour, would not put 
me much at my eafe in paffing fentence ; unlefs I could be 
fure, that there were no rights which, in their exercife un- 
der certain circumftances, were not the moft odious of all 
wrongs, and the moft vexatious of all injuftice. Sir, thefe 
confiderations have great weight with me, when I find 
things fo circumftanced ; that I fee the fame party, at once a 
civil litigant againft me in point of right ; and a culprit be- 
fore me, while I fit as a criminal judge, on adts of his, whofe 
moral quality is to be decided upon the merits of that very 
litigation* Men are every now and then put, by the com- 
plexity of human affairs, into ftrange fituations; but juftice 
is the fame, let the judge be in what fituation he will. 

There is, Sir, alfo a circumftance which convinces me, 
that this mode of criminal proceeding is not (at leaft in the 
prefent ftage of our conteft) altogether expedient ; which is 
nothing lefs than the conduct of thofe very perfons who, 
have feemcd to adopt that mode, by lately declaring a rebel-, 
lion in Maffachufet's Bay, as they had formerly addreffed to 
have traitors brought hither under an a6t of Henry the 
Eighth, for trial. For though rebellion is declared, it is not 
proceeded againft as fuch; nor have any fl:eps been taken 
towarcte the apprehenfion or conviction of any individual 
offender, either on our . late or our former addrefs ; but 
modes of puUic coercion have been adopted, and fnch as 
have much more refemblance to a fort of qualified hoftility 
towards an independent power than the punilhment of re- 
bellious fubjedts. All this feems rather inconfiftent ; but 
it fhews how difficult it is to apply thefe juridical ideas to 
our prefent cafe* 

In thijs fituation, let us ferioufly and coolly ponder,. What 
is it we have got by all our menaces^ which have been many 

and 



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56 SPEECHON 

and ferocious ? What advantage have we derived from the 
penal laws we have pafled, and which, for the time, have 
been fevere and numerous ? What advances have we made 
towards our objedt, by the fending of a force, which, by 
land and fea, is no contemptible ftrength ? Has the diforder 
abated ? Nothing lefs. — When I fee things in this fituation, 
dfter fuch confident hopes, bold promifes, and a£tive exer- 
tions, I cannot, for my life, avoid a fufpicion, that the plan 
itfelf is not correctly right. 

If then the removal of the caufes of this fpirit of American 
liherty be, for the greater part, or rather entirely, impradti- 
cable; if the ideas of criminal procefs be inapplicable, or, if 
applicable, are in the higheft degree inexpedient, what way 
yet remains ? No way is open, but the third and laft — to 
comply with the American fpirit as neccffary ; or, if you 
pleafe^ to fubmit to it, as a neceflary evil. 

If we adopt this mode ; if we mean to conciliate and con- 
cede ; let us fee of what nature the conceffion ought to be ? 
to afcertain the nature of our conceffion, we muft look at 
their complaint. The colonies complain, that they have not 
the charadteriftic mark and feal of Britilh freedom. They 
complain, that they are taxed in a parliament, in which they 
are not reprefented. If you mean to fatisfy them at all, you 
muft fatisfy them with regard to this complaint. If you 
mean to pleafe any people, you muft give them the boon 
which they afk ; not what you may think better for them, 
but of a kind totally different. Such an a6t may be a wife 
regulation, but it is no conceffion : whereas our prefent 
theme is the mode of giving fatisfadtion. 

Sir, I think you muft perceive, that I am refolved this day 
to have nothing at all to do with the queftion of the right 
of taxation. Some gentlemen ftartle — ^but it is true : I put it 
totally out of the queftion. It is lefs than nothing in my 

coniideration. 



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CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. .57 

- confideration. I do not induced wonder, nor will yQU^ Sir, 
that gentlemen of profound learning are fond of difplaying 
it on this profound fubjedt. But my confideration is nar- 
row, confined, and wholly limited to the policy of the quef- 
tion. I do not examine, whether the giving away a man^s 
money be a power excepted and referved out of the general 
truft of government ; and how far all mankind, in all forms 
of polity, are intitled to an exercife of that right by the 
charter of nature. Or whether, on the contrary, a right of 
taxation is neceflarily involved in the general principle of 
legiflation, and infeparable from the ordinary fupreme 
power ? Thefe are deep queftions, where great names mili- 
tate againft each other ; where reafon is perplexed ; and an 
appeal to authorities only thickens the confufion. For high 
and reverend authorities lift up their heads on both fides ; 
and there is no fure footing in the middle. This point is 
the great Serbonian bogy betwixt Damiata and Mount Qafius 
oldy where armies whole have funk. I do not intend to be 
overwhelmed in that bog, though in fuch refpe6table com- 
pany. The queftion with me is, not whether you have a 
right to render your people miferable ; but whether it is not 
your interefl: to make them happy? It is not, what a lawyer 
tells me, I may do; but what humanity, reafon> and juftice, 
tell me, I ought to do. Is a politic adt the worfe for being 
a generous one ? Is no conceflfion proper, but that which is 
made from your want of right to keep what you grant ? Or 
does it leflen the grace or dignity of relaxing in the exercife 
of an odious claim, becaufe you have your evidence-room 
full of titles, and your magazines ftufFed with arms to en- 
force them? What fignify all thofe titles, and all thofe 
arms ? Of what avail are they, when the reafon of the thing 
tells me, that the aflertion of my title is the lofs of my fuit; 
Vol. IL I and 



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58 SPEECttON 

and that I could do nothing but wound myfelf by the ufe of 
my own weapons ? 

^ Such is ftedfaftly my opinion of the abfolute neceffity of 
keeping up the concord of this empire by a unity of fpirit, 
though in a diverlity of operations, that, if I were fure the 
colonifts had, at their leaving this country, fealed a regular 
compadt of fervitude ; that they had folemnly abjured aU the 
rights of citizens ; that they had made a vow to renounce all 
ideas of liberty for them and their pofterity, to all genera- 
tions ; yet I (hould hold mylfelf obliged to conform to the 
temper I found univerfally prevalent in my own day, and 
to govern two million of men, impatient of fervitude, on the 
principles of freedom, I am not determining a point of law ; 
I am reftoring tranquillity ; and the general character and 
lituation of a people muft determine what fort of govern- 
ment is fitted for them. That point nothing elfe can or 
ought to determine. 

My idea therefore, without conlidering whether we yield 
as matter of right, or grant as matter of favour, is to admit 
the people of our colonies into an inter ejl in the conjlitution ; 
and, by recording that admiflion in the journals of parlia-^ 
ment, to give them as ftrong an affurance as the nature of 
the thing will admit, that we mean for ever to adhere to that 
folemn declaration of fyftematic indulgence. 

Some years ago, the repeal of a revenue a£t, upon its un- 
derftood principle, might have ferved to fhew, that we in- 
tended an unconditional abatement of the exercife of a tax- 
ing power. Such a meafure was then fufEcient to remove 
all fufpicion; and to give perfe<5t content. But unfortunate 
events, lince that time, may make fomething further necef- 
fary ; and not more neceflary for the fatisfadlion of the co- 
lonies, than for the dignity and confiftency of our own fu- 
ture proceedings* ^ 

I have 



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CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. 59 

I have taken a very incorrect meafure of the<lifpofition of 
tthe houfe, if this propofal in itfelf would be received with 
diflike. I think, Sir, we have few American financiers. But 
our misfortune is, we are too acute ; we are too exquifite in 
our ronjeftures of the future, for men oppreffed with fuch 
great and prefent evils. The more moderate among the 
oppofers of parliamentary concefEon freely confefs, that 
they hope no good from taxation ; but they apprehend the 
-colonifts have further views ; and if this point were con- 
ceded, they would inilantly attack the trade-laws. Thefe 
geaitlcmen are convinced, that this was the intention from 
the beginning; and the quarrel of the Americans with taxa- 
tion was no more than a cloke and cover to this defign. 
Such has been the language even of a * gentleman of real 
moderation, and of a natural temper well adjufted to fair 
an<i leqiial government. I am, however, Sir^ not a little 
fuiiprizejd at this kind of difcourfe, whenever I hear it ; and I 
am the more furprized, on account of the arguments which 
iconftantly find in company with it, and which are often 
urged from the fame mouths, and on the fame day. 

For ioftance, when we alledge, that it is againft reafon to 
itax a peixple under fo many reftraints in trade as the Ame- 
ricans, tiie + noble lord in the blue ribband Ihall tell you, 
that die reftraints on trade are futile and ufelefs ; of no ad- 
vantage to us^ and of no burthen to thofe on whom they 
areimpofed^ that the trMe to America is ©ot fecured by the 
2j^s of navigation,. but by the natural and irrefiftible advan- 
-tage of a cammercial preference. 

Suich is the merit of the trade laws in this pofture of the 
debate* But wh^n ftrong internal drcumftances are urged 
againft the taxes; when the fcheme is difle6ted ; when ex- 
perifickoe and the nature of things are brought to prove, and 

♦ Mr.Jlkc. t Lord North. 

la do 



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6o SPEECHON 

do prove, the utter impoflibility of obtaining an efFedtive 
revenue from the colonies ; when thefe things are prefled, 
or rather prefs themfelves, fo as to drive the advocates of 
colony taxes to a qlear admiffion of the futility of the 
fcheme ; then, Sir, the fleeping trade laws revive from their 
trance ; and this ufelefs taxation is to be kept facred, not for 
its own fake, but as a counter-guard and fecurity of the laws 
of trade. 

Then, Sir, you keep up revenue laws which are mifchie- 
vous, in order to preferve trade laws that are ufelefs* Such 
is the wifdom of our plan in both its members. They are 
feparately given up as of no value ; and yet one is always to 
be defended for the fake of the other. But I cannot agree 
with the noble lord, nor with the pamphlet from whence he 
feems to have borrowed thefe ideas, concerning the inutility 
of the trade laws. For without idolizing them, I am fure 
theyar-e ftill, in many ways, of ^reat ufe to us; and in 
former times, they have been of the greateft. They do 
confine, and they do greatly narrow, the market for the 
Americans. But my perfect convi<5tion of this, does not help 
me in the leaft to difcern how the revenue laws form any 
fecurity whatfoever to the commercial regulations ; or tha* 
thefe commercial regulations are the true ground of the 
quarrel ; or, that the giving way in any one inilance of au- 
thority, is to lofe aU that may remain unconceded. 

One fa£t is clear and indifputable. The public and avowed 
origin of this quarrel, was on taxation. This quarrel has 
indeed brought on new difputes on new queftions ; but cer- 
tainly the leaft bitter, and the feweft of all, on the trade 
laws. To judge which of the two be the real radical cau& 
of quarrel, we have to fee whether the commercial difpute 
did, in order of time, precede the difpute on taxation? 
There is not a fliadow of evidence for it. Next, to enable 

us 



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CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. 6i 

US to judge whether at thh moment a dillike to tlie trade 
laws be the realcaufe of quarrel, it is abfolutely necelTary to 
put the taxes out of the queftion by a repeal. See how the 
Americans aft in this pofition, and then you will be able to 
dilcern correftly what is the true obJeiSt of the controverfy, or 
whether any controverfy at all will remain ? Unlefs you 
confent to remove this caufe of difference, it is impoffiblc, 
with decency,* to affert that the difpute is not upon what 
it is avowed to be. And I would, Sir, recommend to your 
ferious conlideration, whether it be prudent to form a rule 
for punifhing people, not on their own adls, but on your 
conjedtures ? Surely it is prepofleroiis at the very beft. It 
is not juftifying your anger, by their mifcondud: ; but it is 
converting your ill-will into their delinquency. 

But the colonies will go further. — Alas I alas i when wUl 
this fpecidating againft fa<St and reafon endi What wilVquiet 
thefe. panic fears, which we entertain of the hoftile effect of 
a conciliatory condu6t ? Is it true, that no cafe can exift, in 
which it is proper for the fovereign to accede to the defires 
of his difcontented fubjecSts ? Is there any thing peculiar in 
this cafe, to make a rule for itfelf ? Is all authority of courfe 
loft, when it is not puftied to the extreme ? Is it a certain 
maxim, that, the fewer caufes of diflatisfadlion are left by 
government, the more the fubjeft will be inclined to refift 
and rebel ? 

All thefe obje<9:ions being in fa6t no more than fufpicions, 
conjectures, divinations; formed in defiance of fadt and 
experience : they did not. Sir, difcourage me from enter- 
taining the idea of a conciliatory conceflion, founded on the 
principles which I have juft ftated. 

In forming a jdan for this purpofe^ I endeavoured to put 
myfelf in that frame of mind, which was the moft natural, 
and the moft reafonable^ and which was certainly the moft 

probable 



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6a .S P E E C H O N 

probable means of fecuring me from all -error, I fet out with 
a perfedt diftruft of my own abilities j a total renunciatioii 
of every fpeculation of my own ; and with a profound 
reverence for the wifdom of our anceftors, who have left us 
the inheritance of fo happy a conftitution, and Co flouriChing 
an empire, and what is a thoufand times more valuable, the 
treafury of the maxims and principles which formed the 
one, and obtained the other. 

During the reigns of the kings -of Spain af the Auftrian 
family, whenever they were at a lofs in the SpaniOi oo«n- 
cils, it was common for their ftateftnen to fay, that they 
ought to confult the genius of Philip the Second. The 
genius of Philip the Second might mifleid them ; and the 
iffue of their affairs Ihewed, that they had not chofen the 
moft perfed ftandard. But, Sir, I am fure that I Ihall xiot be 
milled, when, in a cafe of corrftitutional difficulty, I confult 
the genius of the Engliih conftitutioTi. Confultiug ^ that 
oracle (it was with all due humility and piety) I found four 
capital examples in a limilar cafe before me : thofe of 
Irfiland, Wales, Chefter, and Durham. 

Ireland, before the Englifli conqueft, though never go- 
verned by a defpotic power, had no parliament. How far tlie 
Englifh parliament itfelf was at that time modelled according 
to the prefent form, is difputed among antiquariahs. But 
we have all the reafon in the world to be affured, that a 
form of parliament, fuch as England then -enjoyed, flie in- 
ftantly communicated to Ireland ; and we are eqiaally fure 
that almoft every fucceffive imppovement in conftitutiooal 
liberty, as faft as it was made here, was tranfmitted thitb«r. 
The feudal baronage, and the feudal knighthood, the roots 
of our primitive conftitution, were early tranfplanted into 
that foil; and grew -and flourished there. Magna Charta, 
if it did not give us originally tihe"bmTfe of txjmmons, gave 
3 us 



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CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. 63 

us at kaft an houfe of commons of weight and coafequencc. 
But yCMT anceftors did not churliftily fit down alone to the 
feaft of Magna Charta. Ireland was made immediately a 
partaken This benefit of Englifti laws and liberties, I 
confefs^ was not at firft extended to all Ireland. Mark the 
oonfequence, Englilh authority and Englilh liberties had 
exa<5lly the fame boundaries. Your ftandard could never be 
advanced an inch before your privileges. Sir John Davis 
Ihews beyond a doubt, that the refufal of a general com- 
munication of thefe rights, was the true caufe why Ireland 
was five hundred years in fubduing; and after the vain 
projects of a military government, attempted in the reign 
of Queen Elizabeth, it was foon difcovered, that nothing 
could make that country, Englifh, in civility and allegiance, 
but your laws and your forms of legiflature. It was not Englifli 
arms, but the Englilh conftitution, that conquered Ireland. 
From that time, Ireland has ever had a general parliament, as 
Ihe had before a partial parliatxient* You changed the peo- 
ple ; you altered the religion ; but you never touched the 
form or the vital fubftance of free government in that king- 
dom. You depofed kings ; you reftored them ; you altered the 
fucceffion to theirs, as well as to your own crown ; but you 
never altered their conftitution ; the principle of which was 
refpe(5feed by ufurpation; reftored with the reftoration of 
monarchy, and eftabliftied, I truft, for ever, by the glori- 
ous Revolution. This has made Ireland the great and 
flouriftiing kingdom that it is ; and from a difgrace and a 
burthen intolerable to this nation, has rendered her a prin-^ 
dpal part of our ftrength and ornament. This country 
cannot be faid to have ever formally taxed her. The irre- 
gular things done in the confufion of mighty troubles, and 
on the hinge of great revolutions, even if all were done that 
is iaid to have been donet form no example^ If they have 

any 



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64 S P E E C H O N 

any efFedt in argument, they make an exception to prove 
the rule. None of your own liberties could ftand a naoment 
if the cafual deviations .from them, at fuch times, v^ere 
fufFered to be ufed as proofs of their nullity. By the lucra- 
tive amount of fuch cafual breaches in the conilitution, 
judge what the ftated and fixed rule of fupply has been in 
•that kingdom. Your Irilh peniioneirs would ftarve, if they 
had no other fund to live on than taxes granted by Engliih 
authority. Turn your eyes to thofe popular grants from 
whence all your great fupplies are come; and learn to 
refpedt that only fource of public wealth in the Britifh 
empire. 

My next example is Wales. This country was faid to be 
reduced by Henry the Third. It was faid more truly to be 
fo by Edward the Firft. But though then conquered, it 
was not looked upon as any part of the realm of England. 
. Its old conftitution, whatever that might have been, was 
deftroyed ; and no good one was fubftituted in its place. 
The care of that tra<5t was put into the hands of lords 
marchers — a form of government of a very Angular kind ; a 
ftrange heterogeneous monfter, fomething between hoftility 
and government; perhaps it has a fort of refemblance, ac- 
cording to the modes of thofe times, to that of commander 
in chief at prefent, to Whom all -civil power is granted as 
fecondary. The manners of the Welfh nation followed the 
genius of the government: the people were ferocious, 
reftive, favage, and imcultivated ; fometimes corapoXed, 
never pacified. Wales within itfelf, was in perpetual dif- 
order ; and it kept the frontier of England in perpetual 
alarm. Benefits from it to the ftate, there were non«. 
^yales was only known to England, by incurfion, and inva- 
fion. 

Sir, during that flate of things, parliament was not idljS. 

They 



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CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. 65 

They attempted to fubdue the fierce fpirit of the Welfh by 
all forts of rigorous laws. They prohibited by ftatute the 
fending all forts of arms into Wales, as you prohibit by 
proclamation (with fomething more of doubt on the legality) 
the fending arms to America. They difarmed the WeKh 
by ftatute, as you attempted (but ftill with more queftion 
on the legality) to difarm New England by an inftrudlion. 
They made an a6t to drag offenders from Wales into Eng- 
land for trial, as you have done (but with more hardlhip) 
with regard to America. By another adl, where one of the 
parties was an Englifhman, they ordained, that his trial 
Ihoukl be always by Englifti. They made adls to reftrain 
trade, as you do; and they prevented the Welfh from the 
ufe of fairs and markets, as you do the Americans from 
fifheries and foreign ports. In fhort, when the ftatute- 
book was not quite fo much fwelled as it is now, you find 
no lefs than fifteen adls of penal regulation on the fubjed: of 
Wales. 

Here we rub our hands — A fine body of precedents for 
the authority of parliament and the ufe of it ! — I admit it 
fully; and pray add like wife to thefe precedents, that all 
the while, Wales rid this kingdom like an incubus ; that it 
was an unprofitable and oppreflive burthen ; and that an 
Englifhman travelling in that country coidd not go fix yards 
from the high road without being murdered. 

The march of the human mind is flow. Sir, it was not, 
until after two hundred years, difcovered, that by an eternal 
law. Providence had decreed vexation to violence; and 
poverty to rapine. Your anceftors did however at length 
open their eyes to the ill hufbandry of injuflice. They 
found that the tyranny of a free people could of all tyran- 
nies the leaft be endured ; and that laws made againft an 
whole nation were not the moft eflfe6tual methods for fe- 

VoL. II. K curing 



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66 SPEECHON 

curing its obedience. Accordingly, in the twenty-feventh 
year of Henry VIII. the courfe was entirely altered. With 
a preamble ftating the entire and perfedl rights of the 
crown of England, it gave to the Welfh all the rights and 
privileges of Englilh fubjedts. A political order was efta- 
blifhed ; the military power gave way to the civil ; the 
marches were turned into> counties. But that a nation 
ihould have a right to Englifh liberties, and yet no Ihare at 
all in the fundamental fecurity of thefe liberties, the grant 
of their own property, feemed a thing fo incongruous ; that 
eight years after, that is, in the thirty-fifth of that reign, a 
complete and not ill-proportioned reprefentation by coiinties 
aiid boroughs was beftowed upon Wales, by a6t of parlia- 
ment. From that moment, as by a charm, the tumults 
fubfided ; obedience was reftored ; peace^ order, and civili- 
zation, followed in the train of liberty — When the day-ftar 
of the Englifh conftitution had arifen in their hearts, all 
was harmony within and without — 

Simul alba nautis 
Stella refuljit, 
Defluitfaxis agitatus humor : 
Concidunt ventiy fugiuntque nubes : 
Et minax (quodjicvoluere) ponto 
Urtda recumbit, 
*rhe very fame year the county palatine of Chefter re- 
ceived the fame relief from its oppreffions^ and the fame 
remedy to its diforders. Before this time Chefter was little 
lels diltempered than Wales. The inliabitants, without 
tights themfelves, were the fitteft to deftrby the rights of 
others; and from thence Richard II. drew the ftanding army 
of archers, with which for a time he oppreffed England. 
The people of Ghefter applied to parliament in a petition 
penned as I fhall read to you. 

. « To 



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CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. 6? 

« To the king our fovereign lord, in moft humble wife 
•< Ihewn unto your excellent majefty, the inhabitants of 
** your grace's county palatine of Chefter ; That where the 
<* faid county palatine of Chefter is and hath been always 
« hitherto exempt, excluded and feparated out and from 
« your high court of parliament, to have any knights and 
*' burgefles within the faid court ; by reafon whereof the 
" faid inhabitants have hitherto fuftained manifold diftieri- 
^ ions, lofles and damages, as well in their lands, goods, 
*' and bodies, as in the good, civil, and politick governance 
" and maintenance of the commonwealth of their faid coun- 
« try : (a.) And for as much as the faid inhabitants have 
*< always hitherto been bound by the adts and ftatutes made 
** and ordained by your faid highnefs, and your moft noble 
<* progenitors, by authority of the faid court, as far forth 
«< as other counties, cities, and boroughs have been, that 
" have had their knights and burgefles within your faid 
*• court of parliament^ and yet have had neither knight ne 
** burgefs there for the faid county palatine ; the faid inha- 
*< bitants, for lack thereof, have been oftentimes touched 
** and grieved with a<5ls and ftatutes made within the faid 
** court, as well derogatory unto the moft antient jurifdic- 
•♦ tions, liberties, and privileges of your faid county pala- 
** tine, as prejudicial unto the common wealth, quietnefs, 
<* reft^ and peace of your grace's moft boundei^ fubje<5ts in- 
** habiting within the fame." 

What did parliament with this audacious addrefs ? — Reje<a 
it as a libel ? Treat it as an afiront to government ? Spura 
it as a derogation from the rights of legiflature? Did 
they tofs it over the table ? Did they burn it by the hands 
of the common hangman ? — They took the petition of 
grievance, all rugged as it was, without foftening or tem- 
perament, unpurged of the original bitternefc and indigna- 

K 2 tion 



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68 SPEECH ON 

tion of complaint ; they made it the very preamble to their 
a(5t of redrefs ; and confecrated its principle to all ages ia 
the faiidluary of legiflation. 

Here is my third example. It was attended with the 
fuccefs of the two former. Ghefter, civilized as well as 
Wales, has demonftrated that freedom and not fervitude.is 
the cure of anarchy ; as religion, and not atheifm, is the 
true remedy for fuperftition. Sir, this pattern of Ghefter 
was followed in the reign of Gharles II. with regard to the 
county palatine of Durham, which is my fourth example; 
This county had long lain out of the pale of free legiflation. 
So fcrupuloufly was the example of Ghefter folio wed^ that 
the ftyle of the preamble is nearly the fame with that of 
the Ghefter adl ; and without afFedting the abftradl extent 
of the authority of parliament, it recognizes the equity of 
not fufFering any confiderable diftridt in which the Britifli 
fubjedts may adt as a body, to be taxed without their own 
voice in the grant. 

Now if the dodlrines of policy contained in thefe pream- 
bles, and the force of thefe examples in the adts of parlia- 
ment, avail any thing, what can be faid againft applying them 
with regard to America ? Are not the people of America as 
much Engliflimen as the WeKh ? The preamble of the a6t 
of Henry VIII. fays, the Welfti fpeak a language no way 
refembling that of his majefty's Englifii fubjeiSls. Are the 
Americans not as numerous ? If we may truft the learned 
and accurate Judge Barrington's account of North Wales, and 
take that as a ftandard to meafure the reft, there is no com- 
parifon. The people cannot amount to above aoo,ooo ; not a 
tenth part of the number in the colonies. Is America in 
rebellion ? Wales was hardly ever free from it. Have you 
attempted to govern America by penal ftatutes ? You made 
fifteen for Wales. But your legiflative authority is perfect 

witl^ 



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CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. 6^ 

with regard to America; was it lefs perfedt in Wales, 
Chefter, and Durham ? But America is virtually repre- 
lented. What ! does the elecSlric force of virtual reprefen- 
tation more eafily pafs over the Atlantic, than pervade 
Wales, which lies in your neighbourhood; or than Chefter 
and Durham, furrounded by abundance of reprefentation 
that is acSlual and palpable ? But, Sir, your anceftors thought 
this fort of virtual reprefentation, however ample, to be 
totally infufficient for the freedom of the inhabitants of 
territories that are £o hear, and comparatively fo incon lid ar- 
able. How then can I think it fufficient for thofe which are 
infinitely greater,' and infinitely more remote ? 

You will now, Sir, perhaps imagine, that I am on the 
point of propofing to you a fchem.e for a reprefentation of 
the colonies in parliament. Perhaps I might be inclined to 
entertain fome fuch thought ; but a great flood flops me in 
my courfe. Oppofuit natura — \ cannot remove the eternal 
barriers of the creation. The thing in that mode, I do not 
know to be poflible. As I meddle with no theory, I do not 
abfolutely aflert the impradicability of fuch a reprefentation. 
But I do not fee my way to it ; and thofe who have been 
more confident, have not been more fuccefsful. However, 
the arm of public benevolence is not ihortened ; and there 
are often feveral means to the fame end. What nature has 
disjoined in one way, wifdom may unite in another. When 
we cannot give the benefit as we would wilh, let us not re- 
fufe it altogether. If we cannot give the principal, let us 
find a fubftitute. But how ? Where ? What fubftitute ? 

Fortunately I am not obliged for the ways and means of 
this fubftitute to tax my own unprodudlive invention. I 
am not even obliged to go to the rich treafury of the fertile 
framers of imaginary commonwealths; not to theRepublick 
of Plato, not to the Utopia of More ; not to the Oceana of 

Harrington • 



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70 SPEECHON 

Harrington. It is before me — It is at my feet, and the rude 
fwain treads daily on it with bis clouted Jhoon. I only wifli 
you to recognize, for the theory, the antient conftitutionai 
policy of this kingdom with regard to reprefentation, as that 
policy has been declared in a£ls of parliament; and, as to 
the pradtice, to return to that mode which an uniform ex- 
perience has marked out to you, as beft ; and in which you 
walked with fecurity, advantage, and honour, until the year 
1763. 

My refolutions therefore mean to eftablifh the equity and 
juftice of a taxation of America, by grants and not by impo- 
Jition. To mark the legal competency of the colony affem- 
blies for the fupport of their government in peace, and for 
public aids in time of war. To acknowledge that this legal 
competency has had a dutiful and beneficial exercife ; and 
that experience has Ihewn the benefit of tbeir grant s^ and the 
futility of parliamentary taxation as a method offupply. 

Thefe folid truths compofe fix fundamental propofitions. 
There are three more refolutions corollary to thefe. If you 
admit the firft fet, you can hardly reject the others. But if 
you admit the firft, I ihall be far 'from folicitous whether 
you accept or refufe the laft. I think thefe fix maflive pil- 
lars will be of ftrength fufficient to fupport the temple of 
Britifh concord. I have no more doubt than I entertain of 
my exiftence, that, if you admitted thefe, you would com- 
mand an immediate peace; and with but tolerable future 
management, a lafting obedience in America. I ani not ar- 
rogant in this confident affurance. The propofitions are all 
mere matters of fa(5l ; and if they are fuch fa(5ts as draw ir- 
refiftible conclufions even in the ftating, this is the power of 
truth, and not any management of mine. 

Sir, I fhall open the whole plan to you together, with 
fuch obfervations on the motions as may tend to illuftrate 

them 



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CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. yf 

them where they may want explanation. The firft is a re- 
folution— ^* That the colonies and plantations of Great Bri- 
" tain in North America, confifting of fourteen feparate 
** governments, and containing two millions and upwards 
*^ of free inhabitants, have not had the liberty and privi- 
^^ lege of eledling and fending any knights and burgefle*^ 
** or others to reprefent them in the high court of parlia- 
^* mem." — This is a plain matter of fadl, neceflary to be laid 
down, and (excepting the defcription) it is laid down in the 
language of the conftitution; it is taken nearly verbatim 
from adts of parliament. 

^ The fecond is like unto the firft — ^< That the faid colo- 
*^ nies and plantations have been liable to, and boundeh by, 
^^ feveral fubfidies, payments, rates, and taxes, given and 
*^ granted by parliament, though the faid colonies and plan- 
** tations have not their knights and burgefles, in the faid 
** high court of parliament, of their own election, to repre- 
*^ fent the condition of their country ; by lack whereof they 
^ have been oftentimes touched and grieved by fubfidies 
*^ given, granted, and aflented to, in the faid court, in a 
** manner prejudicial to the common wealth, quietnefs, reft, 
^^ and peace of the fubjecfts inhabiting within the fame.** 

Is this defcription too hot, or too cold, too ftrong, or too 
weak ? Does it arrogate too much to the fupreme legifla- 
ture ? Does it lean too much to the claims of the people ? If 
it runs into any of thefe errors, the fault is not mine. It is 
the language of your own antient a<5ts of parliament. Non 
meus bicfermoj fed qua pracepit OfelluSj rufticus^ abnormis 
fapiens. It is the genuine produce of the antient ruftic, 
manly, home-bred fenfe of this country. — I did not dare to 
rub off a particle of the venerable ruft that rather adorns 
and preferves, than deftroys the metal. It would be a pro- 
fanation to touch with a tool the ftones which conftrudl the 

X facred 



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72r SPEEGHON 

iacred altar of peace. I would not violate with modern 
polifh the ingenuous and noble roughnefs of thefe truljr 
conftitutional materials. Above all things, I was refolved 
not to be guilty of tampering, the odious vice of reftlefs and 
unliable minds. I put my foot in the tracks of our fore- 
fathers ; where I can neither wander nor ftumble. Deter- 
mining to fix articles of peace, I was refolved not to be wife 
beyond what was written; I was refolved to ufe nothing 
elfe than the form of found words ; to let others abound in 
their own fenfe ; and carefully to abftain from all expref- 
fions of my own. What the law has faid, I fay. In all 
.things elfe I am filent. I have no organ but for her words. 
This, if it be not ingenious, I am fure is fafe. 

There are indeed words expreflive of grievance in this 
fecond refolution, which thofe who are refolved always to 
be in the right, will deny to contain matter of fadl, as ap- 
plied to the prefent cafe ; although parliament thought 
ihem true, with regard to the counties of Chefter and Dur- 
ham. They will deny that the Americans were evej 
/• touched and grieved" with the taxes. If they confider no- 
thing in taxes but their weight as pecuniary impofitions, 
there might be fome pretence for this denials But men 
may be forely touched and deeply grieved in their privileges, 
iis well as in their purfes. Men may lofe little in property 
by the a<St which takes away all their freedom. When a 
man is robbed of a trifle on the highway, it is not the two- 
pence loft that conftitutes the capital outrage. This is not 
confined to privileges. Even antient indulgences with- 
drawn, without offence on the part of thofe who en- 
joyed fuch favours, operate as grievances. But were the 
Americans then not touched and grieved by the taxes, in 
ibme meafure, merely as taxes? If fo, why were they 
^Imoft all^ either wholly repealed or exceedingly reduced ? 

Were 



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CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. 73 

Were they not touched and grieved, even by the regulating 
duties of the lixth of George II ? Elfe why were the duties firft 
reduced to one third in 1764, and afterwards to a third of that 
third in the year 1766 ? Were they not touched and grieved 
by the ftamp adl? I fliall fay they were, until that tax is re- 
vived. Were they not touched and grieved by the duties 
of 1767, which were likewife repealed, and which. Lord 
Hillfborough tells you (for the miniftry) were laid contrary 
to the true principle of commerce? Is not th€ affurance 
given by that noble perfon to the colonies of a refolution to 
lay no more taxes on them, an admiffion that taxes would 
touch and grieve them ? Is not the refolution of the noble 
lord in the blue ribband, now Handing on your journals, the 
ftrongeft of all proofs that parliamentary fublidies really 
touched and grieved them ? Elfe why all thefe changes, mo- 
difications, repeals, aifurances, and refolutions ? 

The next propofition is—" That, from the diftance of the 
** faid colonies, and from other circumftances, no method 
^^ hath hitherto been devifed for procuring a reprefentation 
" in parliament for the faid colonies." This is an aflertion 
of a fadl. I go no further on the paper; though in my pri- 
vate judgment, an ufeful reprefentation is impoflible ; I am 
fure it is not defired by them ; nor ought it perhaps by us j 
but I abftain from opinions. 

The fourth refolution is—" That each of the faid colo- 
" nies hath within itfelf a body, chofen in part, or in the 
" whole, by the freemen, freeholders, or other free inhabi- 
" tants thereof, commonly called the General Aflembly, or 
" General Court, with powers legally to raife, levy, and 
" afiefs, according to the feveral ufage of fuch colonies, du* 
" ties and taxes towards defraying all forts of public fer- 
^* vices.*^ 

This competence in the colony affemblies is certain. It 
Vol. II. L is 



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74 SPEECHON 

is proved by the whole tenour of their adls of fupply in all 
the aflemblies, in which the conftant ftyle of granting is, 
<^ an aid to his majefty ;" and a6ts granting to the crown 
have regularly for near a century paffed the public offices 
without difpute. Thofe who have been pleafed paradoxi- 
cally to deny this right, holding that none but the Britilh 
parliament can grant to the crown, are wifhed to look to 
what is done, not only in the colonies, but in Ireland, in 
one uniform unbroken tenour every feffion. Sir, 1 am 
furprized, that this doctrine fhould come from fome of the 
law fervants of the crown. I fay, that if the crown could 
be refponfible, his majefty — but certainly the minifters, and 
even thefe law officers themfelves, through whofe hands 
the adts pafs biennially in Ireland, or annually in the colo- 
nies, are in an habitual courfe of committing impeachable 
oflfences. What habitual offenders have been all prefidents 
of the council, all fecretaries of ftate, all firft lords of trade, 
all attornies and all folicitors general ! However, they are 
fafe ; as no one impeaches them ; and there is no ground 
of charge againft them, except in their own unfounded 
theories. 

The fifth refolution is alfo a refoltition of facSl— " That 
" the faid general affemblies, general courts, or other bo- 
" dies legally qualified as aforefaid, have at fnndry times 
" freely granted feveral large fubfidies and public aids for 
^* his majefty's fervice, according to their abilities, when 
" required thereto by letter from one of his majefty's prin- 
" cipal fecretaries of ftate ; and that their right to grant the 
•* fame, and their chearfulnefs and fufficiency in the faid 
" grants, have been at fundry times acknowledged by par- 
" liament.'' To fay nothing of their great expences in the 
Indian wars ; and not to take their exertion in foreign ones, 
fo high as the fuj^plies in the y^ar 1695 ; not to go back to 

§ their 



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CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. rs 

their public contributiotis iii the year 1710 ; I (hall begin to 
travel only where the journals give me light ; refolving to 
deal in nothing but fadt, authenticated by parliamentary 
record ; and to build myfelf wholly on that folid balls. 

On the 4th of April 174S*, a committee of this houfe 
came to the following refolution : 
" Refolved, 

<* That it is the opinion of this committee, Tlbaf it is jiift 
*< and reajonable that the feveral provinces and colonies 
** of Maflachufet's Bay, New Hampfliire, Conne<Sticut, and 
** Rhode liland, be reimburfed the expences they have 
** been at in taking and fecuring to the crown of Great 
** Britain, the ifland of Cape Breton, and its dependencies.** 

Thefe expences were immenfe for fuch colonies. They 
were above 200,000 /. fterling ; money firft raifed and ad- 
vanced on their public credit. 

On the 28th of January 1756 +, a meffage from the king 
came to us, to this effe<5l — ** His majefty, being fenfible of 
<* the zeal and vigour with which his faithful fubjedts of 
*• certain colonies in North America have exerted them- 
« felves in defence of his majefty*s juft rights and poflef- 
*< lions, recommends it to this houfe to take the fame into 
<* their confideration, and to enable his majefty to give 
«♦ them fuch ailiftance as may be a proper reward and en- 
** couragementP 

On the 3d of February 1756 J, the houfe came to a fuit- 
able refolution, exprefled in words nearly the fame as thofe 
of the meffage: but with the further addition, that the 
money then voted was as an encouragement to the colonies 
to exert themfdves with vigour. It will not be neceffary to 
go through all the teftimonies which your own records have 

• Journals of the Houfe, Vol. XXV. t IWd. Vol. XXVII. X Ibid. 

L a given 



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76 SPEEGHON 

given to the truth of my refolutions. I will only refer you 
to the places in the journals : 

Vol. XXVIL— i6th and 19th May 1757, 

Vol. XXVIIL— June ift, 1758— April 2$th and 30th, 1759 
— March a6th and 31ft, and April 28th, 
1760 — ^Jan. 9th and 20th, 1761. 

Vol. XXIX. — Jan. 22d and 26th, 1762 — March 14th and 
17th, 1763. 

Sir, here is the repeated acknowledgment of parliament, 
that the colonies not only gave, but gave to fatiety. This 
nation has formally acknowledged two things ; firft, that 
the colonies had gone beyond their abilites, parliament 
having thought it neceflary to reimburfe them ; fecondly, 
that they had a6ted legally and laudably in their grants of 
money, and their maintenance of troops, fince the compen- 
fation is exprefsly given as reward and encouragement. 
Reward is not beftowed for adts that are unlawful; and 
encouragement is not held out to things that deferve repre- 
heniion. My refolution therefore does nothing more than 
collect into one propolition, what is fcattered through your 
journals. I give you nothing but your own ; and you can- 
not refufe in the grofs, what you have fo often acknow- 
ledged in detail. The admiflSon of this, which will be fo 
honourable to them and to you, will, indeed, be mortal to 
all the miferable ftories, by which the paffions of the mif- 
guided people have been engaged in an unhappy fyftem. 
The people heard, indeed, from the beginning of thefe 
difputes, one thing continually dinned in their ears, that 
reafon and juftice demanded, that the Americans, who paid 
no taxes, Ihould be compelled to contribute. How did that 
fa£t of their paying nothing, ftand, when the taxing fyftem 
began ? When Mr. Grenville began to form his fyftem of 
American revenue, he ftated in this houfe, that the colonies 

were 



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CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. 77 

were then in debt two million fix hundred thoufand pounds 
fterling money ; and was of opinion they would difcharge 
that debt in four years. On this ftate, thofe untaxed people 
were adtually fubje<St to the payment of taxes to the amount 
of fix hundred and fifty thoufand a year. In fa(5t, how- 
ever, Mr. Grenville was miftaken. The funds given for 
finking the debt did not prove quite fo ample as both the 
colonies and he expedled. The calculation was too fan- 
guine: the redudlion was not compleated till fome years 
after, and at different times in different colonies. However, 
the taxes after the war, continued too great to bear any 
addition, with prudence or propriety ; and when the bur- 
thens impofed in confequence of former requifitions were 
diicharged, our tone became too high to refort again to 
requifition. No colony, fince that time, ever has had any 
requifition whatfoever made to it. 

We fee the fenfe of the crown, and the fenfe of parlia- 
ment, on the productive nature of a revenue by grant. 
Now fearch the fame journals for the produce of the revenue 
by impqfition-^VJYi^rt is it ? — ^let us know the volume and 
the page — ^what is the grofs, what is the net produce? — 
to what fervice is it applied f — how have you appropriated 
its furplus ? — ^What, can none of the many fkilful index- 
makers, that we are now employing, find any trace of it ? — 
Well, let them and that refl together. — But are the journals, 
which fay nothing of the revenue, as filent on the difcontent ? 
Oh no ! a child may find it. It is the melancholy burthen 
and blot of every page. 

I think then I am, from thofe journals, juflified in the 
fixth and lafl refolution, which is—" That it hath been 
'^ found by experience, that the manner of granting the 
" faid fupplies and aids, by the faid .general affemblies, 
^^ hath been more agreeable to the faid colonies, and more 

" beneficial^ 



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78 S P E E C H O N 

^' beneficial, and conducive to the public fervice, than^the 
^^ mode of giving and granting aids in parliament, to be 
*^ raifed and paid in the faid colonies/' This makes: the 
whole of the fundamental part of the plan. The conclulion 
is irrefiftible. You cannot fay, that you were driven by 
any neceflity, to an exercife of the utmoll rights of legifla- 
ture. You cannot affert, that you took on yourfelves the 
tafk of impofing colony taxes, from the vrant of another 
legal body, that is competent to the purpofe of fupplying 
the exigencies of the ftate without wounding the prejudices 
of the people* Neither is it true that the body fo quali- 
fied, and having that competence, had negle6ted the duty. 

The queflion now, on all this accumulated matter, is ;— 
whether you will chufe to abide by a profitable experience, 
or a mifchievous theory; whether you chufe to build on 
imagination or fa£t ; whether you prefer enjoyment or hope; 
fatisfadlion in your fubje(5ls, or difcontent ? 

If thefe propofitions are accepted, every thing which has 
been made to enforce a contrary fyftem, muft, I take it for 
granted, fall along with it. On that ground, - 1 have drawn 
the following refolution, which, when it comes. to be moved, 
will naturally be divided in a proper manner: "That it 
<* may be jMoper to repeal an a<5t, made in the feventh year 
*^ of the rergn of his prefent msgefty, intituled, Anadik for 
*^ granting certain duties in the Britifti colonies and 'plaa- 
^^ tations in America ; for allowing a drawbiack of the du- 
^ ties of cuftoms upon the exportation from this kingdoKA, 
^* of coffee and cocoa-nuts of the produce of the faid (tolo- 
" nies or plantations ; for difcontinuing the drawbacks 
" payable on China earthen-ware exported to America; and 
*< for more eflfeAually preventing, the dandeftiifce running 
<< of goods in the faid colonies and^ pJantations.— Add that it 
*^ may be proper to repeal an adt, mcade in. the fourteenth 

" year 



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CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA- 79 

^ year of the reign of his profent majefty, intituled, An 
*^ a6t to difcontinue, in fuch manner, and for fuch time, 
<^ as are therein tnentioned, the landing and difcharging, 
<* lading or fhipping, of goods, wares, and merchandize, at 
<* the town and within the harbour of Bofton, in the pro- 
*< vinee of Maflachufet's Bay, in North America. — And that 
" it may be proper to repeal an a6t, made in the fourteenth 
^< year of the reign of his prefent majefty, intituled. An a<St 
^^ for the impartial adminiftration of jiiftice, in the cafes of 
<^ perfons queftioned for any adls done by them, in the 
" execution of the law, or for the fuppreflion of riots and 
" tumults, in the province of Maffachufef s Bay, in New 
** England, — And that it may be proper to repeal an a^Sl, 
" made in the fourteenth year of the reign of his prefent 
" majefty, intituled. An a<Sl for the better regulating the 
** government of the province of the Maflachufet's Bay, in 
" New England. — And alfo, that it may be proper to ex- 
" plain and amend an adt, made in the thirty-fifth year of 
^^ the reign of King Henry the Eighth, intituled. An adl 
" for the trial of treafons committed out of the king's do- 
" minions." 

I wi(h, Sir, to repeal the Bofton Port Bill, becaufe (in- 
dependently of the dangerous precedent of fufpending the 
rights of the fubje£t during the king^s pleafure) it was 
paiTed, as I apprehend,- with lefs regularity, and on more 
partial principles, than it ought. The corporation of Bofton 
was not heard before it was condemned. Other towns, full 
as guilty as Ihe was, have not had their ports blocked up. 
Even the reftraining bill of the prefent feflion does not go to 
the length of the Bofton Port Aft. The fame ideas of pru- 
dence, which induced you not to extend equal punifh* 
ment to equal guilt, even when you were punifhing,. 
induce me, who mean not to chaftife, but to reconcile, 

to 



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8o S P E E C H O N 

to be fatisfied with the puniftiment already partially in- 
fliaed. 

Ideas of prudence, and accommodation to circumftances, 
prevent you from taking away the charters of GonneiSticut 
and Rhode liland, as you have taken away that of Mafla- 
chufet's Colony, though the crown has far lefs power in 
the two former provinces than it enjoyed in the latter ; and 
though the abufes have been full as great, and as flagrant, 
in the exempted as in the punilhed. The fame reafons of 
prudence and accommodation have weight with me in re- 
ftoring the charter of Maflachufet's Bay* Befides, Sir, the 
adl which changes the charter of Maflachufet's is in many 
particulars fo exceptionable, that if I did not wilh abfolutely 
to repeal, I would by all means defire to alter it ; as feveral 
of its provifions tend to the fubverfion of all public and 
private juftice. Such, among others, is the power in the 
governor to change the flierij0f at his pleafure ; and to make 
a new returning officer for every fpecial caufe. It is Ihame- 
ful to behold fuch a regulation Handing among Englifti 
laws. 

The adt for bringing perfons accufed of committing 
murder under the orders of government to England for 
trial, is but temporary. That adl has calculated the proba- 
ble duration of our quarrel with the colonies ; and is accom- 
modated to that fuppofed duration. I would haften the 
happy moment of reconciliation ; and therefore muft, on 
my principle, get rid of that moft juftly obnoxious adt. 

The adt of Henry the Eighth, for the trial of treafons, I 
do not mean to take away, but to confine it to its proper 
bounds and original intention ; to make it exprefsly for trial 
of treafons (and the greateft treafons may be committed) 
in places where the jurifdi6tion of the crown does not ex- 
tend. 

Having 



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CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. B>i 

• 

Having guarded the privileges of local legiflature, I would 
next fecure to the colonies a fair and unbiafled judicature; 
for which purpofe, Sir, I propofe the following refolution : — 
*^ That, from the time when the general affembly or gene- 
" ral court of any colony or plantation in North America, 
^^ fhall have appointed by z£t of aflembly, duly confirmed, 
" a fettled falary to the oflSices of the chief juftice and other 
** judges of the fuperior court, it may be proper, that the 
" faid chief juftice and other judges of the fuperior courts 
^^ of fuch colony, fliall hold his and their office and offices 
" during their good behaviour ; and fliall not be removed 
<^ therefrom, but when the faid removal fliall be adjudged 
" by his majefty in council, upon a hearing on complaint 
*^ from the general aflembly, or on a complaint from the 
" governor, or council, or the houfe of reprefentatives feve- 
" rally, of the colony in which the faid chief juftice and 
^* other judges have exercifed the faid offices/' 

The next refolution relates to the courts of admiralty. 

It is this : — " That it may be proper to regulate the courts 
of admiralty, or vice admiralty, authorized by the 15th chap. 
^< of the 4th of George the Third, in fuch a manner as to 
^* make the fame more commodious to thofe who fue, or 
** are fued, in the faid courts, and to provide for the more 
^* decent maintenance of the judges in the fame." 

Thefe courts I do not wifti to take away ; they are in 
themfelves proper eftablifliments. This court is one of the 
capital fecurities of the a6t of navigation. The extent of 
its jurifdidion, indeed, has been encreafed ; but this is alto- 
gether as proper, and is, indeed, on many accounts, nxore 
eligible, where new powers were wanted, than a court abfo- 
lutely new. But courts incommodioufly fituated, in effect, 
deny juftice ; and a court, partaking in the fruits of its own 

Vol. II. M condemnation^ 



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82 SPEECHON 

ijondemnation, is a robber* The congrefs complain, and 
complain juftly, of this grievance ^. 

Thefe are the three confequential propofitions. I have 
thought of two or three more ; but they come rather too 
near detail, and to the province of executive government, 
\vhich I wifh parliament always to fuperintend, never to 
affume. If the firft fix are granted, congruity will carry the 
latter three. If not, the things that remain unrepealed, 
will be, I hope, rather unfeemly incumbrances on the build- 
ing, than very materially detrimental to its ftrength and 
{lability. 

Here, Sir, I Ihouid clofe ; but that I plainly perceive fome 
objeftions remain, which I ought, if poflible, to remove. 
The firft will be, that, in reforting to the do£trine of our 
anceftors, as contained in the preamble to the Chefter a6t, 1 
prove too much ; that the grievance from a want of repre- 
fentation, ftated in that preamble, goes to the whole of le- 
giflation as weU as to taxation. And that the colonies ground- 
ing themfclves up6n that doftrine, will apply it to all parts 
of legiilative authority. 

To this obje£tron, with all poflible deference and humi- 
lity, and wifhing as little as any rtian living to impair the 
iinalleft particle of our fupreme authority, I anfwer, that the 
words are the words of parliament^ and not mtne\ and, that 
all falfe and inconclufive inferences, drawn from them, are 
not mine; for I heartily difclaim any fuch inference. I 
have chofen the words of an a6t of parliament, which Mr. 
Grenville, furely a tolerably zealous and vfery judicious ad- 
vocate for the fovereignty of parliament, formerly mov^d 
"to have read at your table, in confirmation of his tenets. It 

* The folicitor-general informed! Mr^ B. when the refolucions were feparately move4 
that the grievance of the judges partaking of the profits of the fefzurc had been rcdreflcd by 
office \ ' accordingly ^he refolution was'amcnded. 

is 



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CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. 83 

is true that Lord Chatham coniidered thefe preambles as 
declaring ftrongly in favour of his opinions. He was a no 
lefs powerful advocate for the privileges of the Americans. 
Ought I not from hence to prefume, that thefe preambles 
are as favourable as poilible to both, when properly under* 
ftood ; favourable both to the rights of parliament, and to 
the privilege of the dependencies of this crown ? But, Sir, 
the objedl of grievance in my refolution, I have not taken 
from the Ghefter, but from the Durham a6t, which con- 
fines the hardfhip of want of reprefentation to the cafe of 
fublidies ; and which therefore falls in exa<Skly with the cafe 
of the colonies. But whether the unreprefented counties 
were dejure^ or defaSoj bound, the preambles do not accu- 
rately diftinguilh ; nor indeed was it neceflary ; for whether 
de jure^ or de faSiOy the legiilature thought the exercife of 
the power of taxing, as of right, or as of facft without right, 
equally a grievance and equally oppreffive. 

I do not know, that the colonies have, in aay general 
way, or in any cool hour, gone m^uch beyond the demand 
of immunity in relation to taxes. It is not fair to judge of 
the temper or difpofitions of any man, or any fet of men> 
when they are compofed and at reft, from their condu<a, or 
their expreffions, in a ftate of difturbance and irritation. It 
is befides a very great miftake to imagine, that mankind 
follow up practically any fpeculative principle, either of go- 
vernment or of freedom, as far as it will go in argument and 
logical illation. We Engliftimen ftop very (hort of the prin- 
ciples upon which we fupport any given part of our confti- 
tution ; or even the whole of it together. I could eafily, if 
1 had not already tired you, give you very ftriking and con- 
vincing, inftances of it. This is nothing but what is natural 
and proper. All government, indeed every human benefit 
;and enjoyment, every virtue, and every prudent a^, is 

M 2 founded 



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84 SPEECH ON 

founded on compromife and barter. We balance inconvc- 
niencies ; we give and take ; we remit fome rights, that we 
may enjoy others; and, we chufe rather to be happy citi- 
zens, than fubtle difputants. As we muft give away fome 
natural liberty, to enjoy civil advantages ; fo we muft facri- 
fice fome civil liberties, for the advantages to be derived 
from the . communion and fellowfhip of a great empire. 
But in all fair dealings the thing bought, muft bear fame 
proportion to the purchafe paid. None will barter away 
the immediate jewel of his foul. Though a great houfe is 
apt to make ilaves haughty, yet it is purchaling a part of the 
artificial importance of a great empire too dear, to pay for 
it all eflential rights, and all the intrinfic dignity of human 
nature. None of us who would not rifque his life, rather 
than fall under a government purely arbitrary. But, al- 
though there are fome amongft us who think our conftitu* 
tion wants many improvements, to make it a complete 
fyftem of liberty, perhaps none who are of that opinion, 
would think it right to aim at fuch improvement, by dif- 
turbing his country, and rifquing every thing that is dear to 
him. In every arduous enterprize, we confider what we 
are to lofe, as well as what we are to gain; and the more 
and better ftake of liberty every people poflefs, the lefs they 
will hazard in a vain attempt to make it more. Thefe are 
the cords of man. Man adls from adequate motives relative 
to his intereft; and not on metaphyfical fpeculations. Arif- 
totle, the great matter of reafoning, cautions us, and with 
great weight and propriety, againft this fpecies of delufive 
geometrical accuracy in moral arguments, as^ the moft falla- 
cious of all fophiftry. 

The Americans will have no intereft- contrary to the 
grandeur and glory of England, when they are not op- 
prefled by the weight of it; and they will rather be inclined 

to 



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CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. 85 

to refpedl the a6ls of a fuperintending legiflature; when 
they fee them the a6ts of that power, which is itfelf the 
fecurity, not the rival, of their fecondary importance. In 
this aflurance, my mind moft perfectly acquiefces ; and I 
confefs, I feel not the leaft alarm, from the difcontents 
which are to arife, from putting people at their eafe ; nor 
do I apprehend the deftrucftion of this empire, from giving, 
by an adt of free grace and indulgence, to two millions of 
my fellow citizens, fome fhare of thofe rights, upon which 
I have always been taught to value myfdf. 

It is faid indeed, that this power of granting vefted in 
American affemblies, would diffolve the unity of the em- 
pire; which was preferved, entire, although Wales, and 
Chefter, and Durham, were added to it. Truly, Mr. 
Speaker, I do not know what this unity means ; nor has it 
ever been heard of, that I know, in the conftitutional po- 
licy of this country. The very idea of fubordination of 
parts, excludes this notion of fimple and undivided unity. 
England is the head ; but (he is not the head and the mem- 
bers too. Ireland has ever had from the beginning a fepa- 
rate, but not an independent, legiflature ; which, far from 
diftradting, promoted the union of the whole. Every thing 
w^ fweetly and harmonioufly dipofed through both iflands 
for the confervation of Englifh dominion, and the commu- 
nication of Englifli liberties. I do not fee that the fame 
principles might not be carried into twenty iflands, and 
with the fame good effedt. This is my model with, re- 
gard to America, as far as the internal circumftances of 
the two countries are the fame. I know no other unity of 
this empire, than I can draw from its example during thefe 
periods, when it feemed to my poor underftanding more 
united than it is now, or than it is likely to be by the pre- 
fent methods • 

But 



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S6 S P E E C H O N 

But fince I fpeak of thefe methods, I recolledl, Mr* 
Speaker, almoft too late, that I promifed, before I fintfhed, 
to fay fomething of the propofition of the * noble lord on 
the floor, which has been fo lately received, and Hands on 
your journals. 1 muft be deeply concerned, whenever it is 
my misfortune to con,tinue a difference with the majority of 
this houfe. But as the reafons for that difference are my 
apology for thus troubling you, fuffer me to ftate them in a 
very few words. I Ihall comprefs them into as fmall a body 
as I poflibly can, having already debated that matter at 
large^ when the queflion was before the committee. 

Firlt, then, I cannot admit that propofition of a ranfom 
by au6lion ; — becaufe it is a mecr proje<a. It is a thing 
/new; unheard of; fupported by no experience; juftified 
by no analogy; without examplfe of our ancefkors, or root 
in the conftitution. It is neither regular parliamentary 
taxation, nor colony grant. Experimentum in corpora vili^ 
is a good rule, which will ever mafce me adverfe to any 
trial of experiments on what is certainly the moft valuable 
of all fubjefts ; the peace of this empire. 

Secondly, it is an experiment which muit be fatal in the 
end to our conftitution. For what is it but a fcheme for 
taxing the colonies in the antichamber of the noble lord 
and his fucceflbrs ? To fettle the quotas and proportions in 
this houfe, is clearly impoflible. You, Sir, may flatter 
yourfelf, you fhall fit a ftate aucStioneer, with your hammer 
in your hand, and knock down to each colony as it bids. 
But to fettle (on the plan laid down by the noble l(M?d) the 
true proportional payment for four or five and twenty 
governments, according to the abfolute and the relative 
wealth of each, and according to the Britifh proportion of 
wealth and burthen, is a wild and chimemcal notion* This 

• LordNonk. 

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CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. 87 

new taTCation muft therefore come in by the back-door of 
the conftitution. Each quota muft be brought to this 
houfe ready formed ; you can neither add nor alter. You 
muft regifter it. You can do nothing further. For on what 
grounds can you deliberate either before or after the pro- 
pofition? You cannot hear the counfel for all thefe pro- 
vinces, quarrelling each on its own quantity of payment^ 
and its proportion to others. If you fhould attempt it, the 
committee of provincial ways and means, or by whatever 
other name it will delight to be called, muft fwallow up all 
the time of parliament. 

Thirdly, it does not give fatisfa<Stion to the complaint of 
the colonies. They complain, that they are taxed without 
their confent ; you anfwer, that you will fix the fum at 
which they fhall be taxed. That is, you give them the 
very grievance for the remedy. You tell them indeed, that 
you will leave the mode to themfelves. I really beg par- 
don : it gives me pain to mention it ; but you muft be 
fenfible that you will not perform this part of the compait^ 
For, fuppofe the colonies were to lay the duties which fur- 
niftied their contingent, upon the importation of your 
manufadures ; you know you would never fufFer fuch a 
tax to be laid. You know too, that you would not fufFer 
many other, modes of taxation. So that, when you come to 
explain yourfelf, it will be found, that you will' neither 
leave to themfelves the quantum nor the mode ; nor indeed 
any thing. The whole is delufion from one end to the 
other. 

Fourthly, this method of ranfom by au<Slion, unlefs it be 
univerjally accepted, will plunge you into great and inex- 
tricable difficulties. In what year of our Lord are the pro- 
portions of payments to be fettled ? To fay nothing of the 
impoffibility that colony agents jQiould have general powers 
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88 SPEECHON 

of taxing the colonies at their difcretion ; confider, I im- 
plore you, that the communication by fpecial meffiges, and 
orders between thefe agents and their conftituents on each 
variation of the cafe, when the parties come to contend to- 
gether, and to difpute on their relative proportions, will be 
a matter of delay, perplexity, and confufion, that never 
can have an end. 

If all the colonies do not appear at the out-cry, what is the 
condition of thofe aflemblies, who offer, by themfelves or 
their agents, to tax themfelves up to your ideas of their pro- 
portion ? The refradtory colonies, who refufe all compofition, 
will remain taxed only to your old impofitions, which, how- 
ever grievous in principle, are trifling as to production. The 
obedient colonies in this fcheme are heavily taxed ; the 
refradlory remain unburthened. What will you do? Will 
you lay new and heavier taxes by parliament on the dif- 
obedient ? Pray confider in what way you can do it. You 
are perfectly convinced that in the way of taxing, you can 
do nothing but at the ports. Now fuppofe it is Virginia 
that refufes to appear at your au<Stion, while Maryland and 
North Carolina bid handfomely for their ranfom, and are 
taxed to your quota ; How will you put thefe colonies on a 
par ? Will you tax the tobacco of Virginia ? If you do, you 
give its death- wound to your Englilh revenue at home, 
and to one of the very greatcft articles of your own foreign 
trade. If you tax the import of that rebellious colony, 
what do you tax but your own manufactures, or the goods 
of fome other obedient, and already well-taxed colony ? 
Who has faid one word on this labyrinth of detail, which 
bewilders you more and more as you enter into it ? Who 
has prefented, who can prefent you, with a clue, to lead 
you out of it? I think. Sir, it is impoffible, that you 
ihould not recoUedt that the colony bounds are fo implicated 

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CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. 89 

in one another (you know it by your other experiments^ 
in the bill for prohibiting the New-England filhery) that 
you can lay no poflible reftraints on almoft any of them 
which may not be prefently ehided, if you do not confound 
the innocent with the guilty, and burthen thofe whom 
upon every principle, you ought to exonerate. He muft 
be grofly ignorant of America, who thinks, that, without 
falling into this confufion of all rules of equity and policy, 
you can reftrain any lingle colony, efpecially Virginia and 
Maryland, the central, and moft important of them all. 

Let it alfo be confidered, that, either in the prefent con- 
fufion you fettle a permanent contingent, which will and 
muft be trifling ; and then you have no effedtual revenue : 
or you change the quota at every exigency ; and then on 
every new repartition you will have a new quarrel. 

Reflect befides, that when you have fixed a quota for 
every colony, you have not provided for prompt and punc- 
tual payment. Suppofe one, two, five, ten years arrears. 
You cannot iflue a treafury extent againft the failing colony • 
You muft make new Bofton port bills, new reftraining laws> 
new ads for dragging men to England for trial. You muft 
fend out new fleets, new armies. All is to begin again. 
From this day forward the empire is never to know an 
hour's tranquillity. An inteftine fire will be kept alive in 
the bowels of the colonies, which one time or other muft 
confume this whole empire. I allow indeed that the em-^ 
pire of Germany raifes her revenue and her troops by 
quotas and contingents; but the revenue cf the empire, 
and the army of the empire, is the worft revenue, and the 
worft army, in the world. 

loftead of a ftanding revenue, you will therefore have a 
perpetual quarrel. Indeed the noble lord, who propofed 

Vol. IL N this 



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90 SPEECH ON 

this projedl of a ranfom by aii<Stion, feemed himfelf to be of 
that opinion. His projfcdt was rather defigned for breaking 
the union of the colonies, than for eftablifhing a revenue. 
He confefled^ he apprehended that his propofal would not 
be to their tajle. I fay, this fcheme of difunion feems to be 
at the bottom of the project ; for I will not fuf]^6t that the 
noble lord meant nothing but merely to dehide the nation 
by an airy phantom which he never intended to realise. But 
whatever his views may be ; as I propofe the peace and 
union of the colonies as the very foundation of my plan, it 
cannot accord with one whofe foundation is perpetual dif- 
cord. 

Compare the two. This I offer to give you is plain and 
fimple. The other full of perplexed and intricate mazes* 
This is mild; that harfti. This is found by experience 
effedlual for its purpofes ; the other is a new proge£t. This 
is univerfal ; the other calculated for certain colonies only* 
This is immediate in its cdnciliatory operation ; the other 
remote, contingent, full of hazard • Mine is what becomes 
the dignity of a ruling people ; gratuitous, unconditional, 
and not held out as matter of bargain and fale. I have done 
my duty in propoilng it to you. I have indeed tired you by 
a long difcourfe ; but this is the misfortune of thofe to whofe 
influence nothing will be conceded, . and who muft win 
every inch of their ground by argument. You have heard 
me with goodnefs. May you decide with wifdom ! For my 
part, I feel my mind greatly difburthened by what I have 
done to-day. I have been the lefs fearful of trying your 
patience, becaufe on this fubjeiSl I mean to fpare it alto- 
gether in future. I have this comfort, that in every ftage 
of the American affairs, I have fteadily oppofed the mea- 
fures that have. produced the confufion^ and may bring oijl 

the 



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CONCILrATION WITH AMERICA. 91 

the deftnuStioni of this empire. I now go fo far as to rif^ue 
a pix)pofal of my own. If I cannot give peace to my coun- 
try ; I give it to my confcience. 

But what (fays the financier) is peace to us without 
money ? Your plan gives us no revenue. No ! But it does 
—For it fccnres to the fubjeft the power of REFUSAL ; 
the firft of all revenues. Experience is a cheat, and fa6t a 
liarj if this power in the fubje<St of proportioning his grant, 
or of not grafting at all, has not been found the richeft mine 
of revenue ever difcovered by the Ikill or by the fortune of 
man. It does not indeed vote you ;C.iS2,75o : 11 : t Iths, nor 
any other paltry limited fum. — ^But it gives the ftrong box it- 
felf, the fund, the bank, from whence only revenues can arife 
amongft a people fenfible of freedom : Pojita luditur arca» 
Cannot you in England ; cannot you at this time of day ; 
cannot you, an houfe of commons, truft to the principle 
which has raifed fo mighty a revenue, and accumulated a 
debt of near 140 millions in this country ? Is this principle 
to be true in England, and falfe every where elfe ? Is it not 
true in Ireland ? Has it not hitherto been true in the colo- 
nies ? Why (hould you prefume that, in any country, a 
body duly conftitutcd for any function, will neglect to 
perform its duty, and abdicate its truft ? '^Such a prefump- 
tion would go againft all government in all modes. But, in 
truth, this dread of penury of fupply, from a free affem- 
bly, has no foundation in nature. For firft obferve, that, 
befides the defire which all men have naturally of fupporting 
the honour of their own government ; that fenfe of dignity, 
and that fecurity to property, which ever attends freedom, 
has a tendency to increafe the ftock of the free community. 
Moft may be taken, where moft is accumulated. And what 
is tiie foil or climate where experience has not uniformly 
puraved, that thevoluntanry flaw of heaped-up plenty, burft-r 

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92 SPEECHON 

ihg from the weight of its own rich luxuriance, has ever 
run with a more copious ftream of revenue, than could be 
. fqueezed from the dry hulks of oppreffed indigence, by the 
ftraining of all the politic machinery in the world. 

Next we know, that parties muft ever exift in a free 
country. We know too, that the emulations of fuch par- 
ties, their contradictions, their reciprocal necei&ties, their 
hopes, and their fears, muft fend them all in their turns to 
him that holds the balance of the ftate. The parties are 
the gamefters ; but government keeps the table, and is fure 
to be the winner in the end. When this game is jdayed, 
I teally think it is more to be feared, that the people will 
be exhaufted, than that government will not be iupplied. 
Whereas, whatever is got by a6ts of abfolute power ill 
obeyed, becaufe odious, or by contracts ill kept, becauft 
conftrained ; will be narrow, feeble, uncertain, and preca- 
rious. " Eaje would retraSi vows made in paitiy as violent 
** and void J* 

I, for one, proteft againit compounding our demands : I 
declare againft compounding, for a poor limited fum, the 
immenfe, evergrowing, eternal debt, which is due to ge- 
nerous government from protected freedom. And fo may 
I fpeed in the great object I propofe to you, as I think it 
would not only be an a<a.of injuftice, but would be the 
worft oeconomy in the world, to compel the colonies to a 
fum certain, either in the way of ranfom, or in the way of 
compulfory compact. 

But to clear up my ideas on this fubjedt— a revenue from 
America tranfmitted hither — do not delude yourfelves— 
you never can receive it — No, not a ihilling. We have 
experience that from remote countries it is not to be ex- 
pected. If, when you attempted to extraCt revenue from 
Bengal, you were obliged to return in loan what you had 

. ^ taken 



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CONCILIATION y/lT^U AMERICA. 93 

taken in impofition ; what can you expe<5l from North 
America? for certainly, if ever there was a country quali- 
fied to produce wealth, it is India; or an inllitution fit for 
the tranfmiffion, it is the Eaft-India company. America 
has none of thefe aptitudes. If America gives you taxable 
objedls, on which you lay your duties here, and gives you, 
at the fame time, a furplus by a foreign fale of her com- 
modities to pay the duties on thefe objects which you tax af 
home, (lie has performed her part to the Britifh revenue. 
But with regard to her own internal eftabliihments ; flie 
may, I doubt not fhe will, contribute in moderation. I 
fay in moderation ;, for (he ought not to be permitted to 
exhauft herfelf. She ought to be.referved to aw^r; the 
weight of whiph, with the enemies that we are moft likely 
to have, • muft be confiderable in her quarter of the globe^ 
There fhe may ferve you, and ferve you efTentially. 

For that fervice, for all fervice, whether of revenue, trade, 
or empire, my truft is in her intereft in the Britifli conftitu- 
tion. My hold of the colonies is in the clofe affeftion 
which grows from co^nmon names, from kindred bloody 
from fimilar privileges, and equal protedlion. Thefe are 
ties, which, though light as air, are as ftrong as links of iron. 
Let the colonies always keep the idea of their civil rights 
affociated with your government; — they wijl cling and 
grapple to you ; and no force under heaven will be of power 
to tear them from their allegiance. But let it be once un- 
derftood, that your government may be one thing, and their 
privileges another ; that thefe two things may exift without 
any mutual relation ; the cement is .§one; the cohefion is 
loofened ; and every thing haftens to decay and diflblutioii. 
As long as you have the wifdom to keep the fovereign au- 
thority of this country as the fandtuary of liberty, the facred 
temple, confecrated to our common faith> wherever the 

' chofea 



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94 SPEECHON 

chofen race and fons of England worftiip freedom, they 
will turn their faces towards yo\i. The more they multi- 
ply, the more friends yoti will have; the more ardently 
they love liberty, the more perfect will be their obedience. 
Slavery they can have any where. It is a weed that grows 
in every foil. They may have it from Spain, they may have 
it from Pruflia. But until you become loft to all feeling of 
your true intereft and your natural dignity, freedom they 
can have from none but you. This is the commodity of 
price, of which you have the monopoly. This is the true 
adt of navigation, which binds to you the commerce^ of the 
colonies, and through them fecures to you the wealth of the 
world. Deny them this participation of freedom, and yott 
break that fole bond, which originally madei^and muft ftill 
preferve, the unity of the empire. Do not entertain fo weak 
an imagination, as that your regifters and your bonds, your 
affidavits and your fufFeranccs, your cockets and your clear- 
ances, are what form the great fecurities of your commerce. 
Do not dream that your letters of office, and your infthic- 
tions, and your fufpending claufes, are the things that hold 
together the great contexture of this myfterious whole. 
Thefe things do not make your government. Dead inftru- 
ments, paffive tools as they are, it is the fpirit of the Englilh 
communion that gives all their life and efficacy to them. It 
is the fpirit of the Englilh conftitution, which, infufed 
through the mighty mafs, pervades, feeds, unites, invigo- 
rates, vivifies, every part of the empire, even down to the 
minuteft member. 

Is it not the feme virtue which does every thing for us 
here in England ? Do you imagine then, that it is the land 
tax ^ which raifes your revenue? that it is the annual vote 
in the committee of fupply, which gives you yotiV army ? 
or that it is the mutiny bill which infpires ifwith bravery 
§ and 



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CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. 95 

and difciplifie ? No ! furely no! It is the love of the people ; 
it is their attachment to their government from the fenfe of 
the deep ftake they have in fugh a glorious inftitution, 
which gives you your artoy aild your navy, and infufes into 
both that liberal obedience, without which your army 
would be a bafe rabble, and your navy nothing but rotten 
timber. 

All this, I know Well enough, will found wild and chime- 
rical to the profane herd of thofe vulgar and mechanical po- 
liticians, who have no place among us ; a fort of people who 
think that nothing exifts but what is grofs and material ; 
and who therefore, far from bein^ qualified t© be directors 
of the great movement of emph-e, are not fit to turn a 
wheel m the machine. But to men truly initiated and 
rightly taught, thefe ruling and mafter principles, which, in 
the opinion of fuch men as I have n^ntioned, have no fub- 
ftantial exiftence, are in truth every thing, and all in. alL 
Magnanimity in polities is not feldom the trueft . wifdom ; 
and a great emrpire and little minds go ill togetber. If vtq 
ace confcions of our (itiTation, and glow with zeal to fill our 
place as becomes our ftation and ourfelves, we ought to au- 
Ipicate all our public proceedings on America, with the old 
warning of the church, Surjum corda! Vfc ought to elevate 
our minds to the greatnefs of that truft to which the order 
of Providence has called us. By adverting to the dignity of 
this high calling, our anceftors have turned a favage wilder- 
nefs into a glorious empire ; and have made the moft ex- 
tenfive, and the only honourable conquefts ; not by deftroy- 
ing, but by promoting, the wealth, the number, the happi- 
nefs, of the human race. Let us get an American revenue 
as we have got an American empire. Englilh privileges 
have made it all that it is $, Englifti privileges alone will m^e 
it all it can be 

la 



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96 SPEECHON 

• In full confidence of this unalterable truth, I now (quod 
felix faujiumque Jitj—\zj the firft ftbne of the temple of 
peace ; and I move you, 

** That the colonies and plantations of Great Britain in 
<* North America, confifting of fourteen feparate govem- 
** ments, and containing two millions and upwards of free 
«« inhabitants, have not had the liberty and privilege of 
** electing and fending any knights and burgefles, or others,' 
** to reprefent them m the high court of parliament.** 



Upon this refolution, the previous queftion was put, and 
carried ; — for the previous queftion a/o, — againft it 78. 



As the propofitions were opened feparately in the body of 
the fpeech, the reader perhaps may wifh to fee the whole 
of them together, in the form in which they were moved 
for. 

"MOVED, 

" That the colonies and plantations of Great Britain in 
** North America, confifting of fourteen feparate govern- 
" ments, and containing two millions and upwards of free 
** inhabitants, have not had the liberty and privilege of 
" electing and fending any knights and burgefles, or others, 
" to reprefent them in the high court of parliament.** 

" That the faid colonies and plantations have been made 
^* liable to, and bounden by, feveral fubfidies, payments, 
" rates, and taxes, given and granted by parliament; though 
" the faid colonies and plantations have not their knights 

« and 



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CONCILIATION WITH' AMERICA. ^ 

<< and burgefies> in the faid high court of parliament, of 
*i dieir own election, to reprefent the condition of their 
** country ; iy lack whereof y they have been oftentimes touched 
" and grieved by fubjidies given^ granted^ and ajfented to, in 
** the faid court, in a manner prejudicial to the common wealthy 
" quietnefs, reji, and peace, of the fubjeSfs inhabiting within. 
« the fame, ^ 

" That, from the diilance of the faid colonies, and from. 
<< other circumftances, no method hath hitherto been de- 
" yife^ for procuring a reprefentation in parliament for the 
•< faid colonies.** 

« That each of the faid colonies hath within itfelf a body^ 
«.* chofenrin part or in the whole, by the freemen, fi^e- 
<« holders, or other free inhabitants thereof, commonly call*- 
" ed the general ailembly, or general court ; with powers 
<* legally to raife, levy, and a(Iefs, according to the feve» 
<* r>al ufage of fuch colonies, duties and taxes towards de- 
*< frayiftg all fortS; of public fervices *.". ' . . , > 

« That the, faid general affemblies, general courts, or othes 
" bodies, legally qualified as aforefaid, have at fundry times 
*^ freely, granted, feveral large fubfidies .and public, aids fo« 
" his majefty's fervice, according to their abijities, when re- 
" quired thereto by Jetter from one of his majelty's prioci-. 
" pal fecretaries of ftate; and that their ri^ht to grant the 
« fame, and their chearfulnefs and fufficiency in the fgid 
** grants, have been at fundry times acknowledged by par:-. 
« liament.^ -^ " y., .J ,' " ,,' ; r/ : •.' ' ' • ^ . , • , , 

«< That it hath been, found by experience, that the man- 

* The firft four motions iid the laft fiad'thc previous qucftron put on tiiem. The 
•thcrs were negatived. '...-•'•:' 

The words in Italicks were, by an amendment that was carried, left dut of the motion $ 
«vUch williippear in the j(>urniJ,s» tbougl^ it is not the pc^cc to iniiert fuch aoiendments 
in the votes.. 

Vol. II. O ' « ner 



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SPEECH OK 

« ner of granting the faid fupplies and aidsj by the faid 
** general aflemblies, hath been more agreeable to the in- 
<« habitants of the faid colonies, and more beneficial and 
** <»nducive to the public fcrvice, than the mode of giving 
♦< and granting aids and fubfidies in parliament to be raifed 
** and paid in the faid colonies.** 

*< That it may be proper to repeal an a<5t made in the 7th 
« year of the reign of his prefent majefty, intituled, An 
** a6t for granting certain duties in the Britifh colonies and 
•* plantations in America; for allowing a drawback of the 
<* duties of cuftoms, upon the exportation from this king- 
** dom, of coffee and cocoa-nuts, of the produce of the 
«* iaid colonies or plantations; for difcontinuing the draw- 
** backs payable on China earthen-ware exported to Ame- 
*• rica } and for more effedlually preventing the clandeftine 

* running of goods in the faid colonies and jdantations.** 

«* That it may be proper to repeal an a€t, made in the 
** 14th year of the reign of his prefent majefty, intituled, 

* An a^ to difcontinuc, in fuch manner, and for fuch 
** time, as are therein mentioned, the landing and dif- 
•< charging, lading or fliipping of goods, wares, and mer- 
" chandize, at the town, and within the harbour, of 
** Bofton, in the province of MalTachufet^s Bay, in North 
** America* 

** That it may be proper to repeal an aft made in the 
« 14th year of the reign of his prefent majefty, intituled^ 
** An aft for the impartial adminiftration of juftice, in cafes 
'* of perfons queftioned for any afts done by them in the 
« execution of the law, or for the fuppreftion of riots and 
** tumults, in the province of MafTacbufet's Bay, in New 
<* England." 

♦< That it is proper to repeal an aft, made in the 14th 

" year of the reign of his prefent majefty, intituled, An aft 

a « for 



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CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA. 99 

*^ for the better regulating the government of the province 
" of the Maflachufet's Bay, in New England.** 

*^ That it is proper to explain and amend an adt made in 
" the 35th year of the reign of King Henry VIIL intituled, 
^* An z£t for the trial of treafons committed out of the King's 
" dominions," ' 

*^ That, from the time when the general aflembly, or 
*^ general court, of any colony or plantation, in North 
^^ America, fhall have appointed, by a6t of aflembly duly 
** confirmed, a fettled falary to the offices of the chief 
'" juftice and judges of the fuperior courts, it may be proper 
" that the faid chief juftice and other judges of the fuperior 
** courts of fuch colony ftiall hold his and their office and 
** offices during their good behaviour; and fhall not be 
*^ removed therefrom, but when the faid removal fhall be 
" adjudged by his majefty in council, upon a hearing on 
" complaint from the general afTembly, or on a complaint 
** from the governor, or council, or the houfe of reprefen- 
" tatives, feverally, of the colony in which the faid chief 
" juftice and other judges have exercifed the faid office;'' 

" That it may be proper to regulate the courts of admi- 
*^ ralty, or vice-admiralty, authorized by the 15th chapter 
" of the 4th of George III. in fuch a manner, as to make 
" the fame more commodious to thofe who fue, or are fued, 
" in the faid courts ; and to provide for the more decent 
" maintenance of the judges oftbefamey 



O 2 A LETTER 



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4 • ' 



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LETTER 

MR. B U R K E, 



T ^ 



JOHN FARR and JOHN H A R R I Si Efqrs* 



SHERIFFS OF TltZ CITY OF SltlSTOLj^ 



on THE 

AFFAJRS QF AMERICA. 

1777- 



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>f iio3 J 



t 



L E t T E R, &c. 



Gentleman,; 

IHave thcj.Jtionour of fending you the two laft a<Sls which 
have ibeen paired with regard to the troubks in America, 
Thefe.afb are fimii^ to all the reft which have been made 
on the fame f\ibje(5t. They operate by the fame principle ;. 
and they ^e .derived fro;n the very fame policy. I think 
theycompk^uc the number of this fort of ftatutes to nine. 
It affisrds no, matter for very pleaiing refie<5tioa, to obferve> 
that our fuligei^s diminifh, as our laws increafe. 

If I have the caisfortune of differing with fome of my 
fellow-pcitizens on this great and arduous fubje(£t, it is no 
fmall coniblation to me, that I do not differ from you. 
With you, i am perfe^ly united. We are heartily agreed in 
our deteftation oi a civil war. We have ever exprefled the 
moft unqualified difapprpbation of all the fteps which have 
led to it, and of all thofe which tend to prolong it. And I 
have no doubt that we feel ex9£dy the £ame emotions of grief 
and fhame on all its miferable confequences ; whether they 
appear, on the one iide or the other, in the (hape of vic- 
tories or defeats, of captures made from the Englifh on the 
continent, or from the Englilh in thefe iflands ; of legifla- 
tive regulations which fubvert the liberties of our brethren 
or which undermine our own. 

Of tlae firft of thefe ftatutes (that for the letter of 
marque) I ihall fay little. Exceptionable as it may be, 
and as I think it.is in fome particulars, it feems the natural, 
perhaps neccflkry refult of the meafures we have takcii, 
^nd the fituation we are in. The other (for a partial fuf- 

penlion 



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104 LETT ErR r - tT p THE 

penfion of the Habeas Corpus) appears to me of a much 
■deeper malignity. During its progrefs through the houfe 
of commons, it has been amended, fo as to exprefs more 
diflintSUy than atfiiH it did, the a^towedfentiments of thofe 
who framed it : and the main ground of my exception to it 
is, becaufe it does exprefs, and does carry into execution, 
purpofes which appear to me fo.cpntradi(St:bry to all the 
principles, not only of the cohftitutiotiaj 'jjbliey of Grej* 
Britain, but even of that fpecies of hoftile ju;ftice, ivhich nO 
afpcrity of war Wholly extinguilhes in the nliiidis 6f a civi- 
lized people. ' .•..•.'..--:. » 

It feemS to have iri view two capital obje(5):s ; the-firft, to 
enable adniiniftratioti to confine, 'a:s lorig'Ja^ it -ftiall think 
' proper, thofe, whom that ad is pleafed tb'^alify by the 
name oi pirates, Thofe fo qualified, I iinderftahd to be*, 
the commanders and mariners of fiich privateers and fhips 
of war belonging^ to the colonies, as in the cburfepf this un^ 
happy conteft may fdl into the hands of the crown;' ' They 
are therefore to be detained in prifon, -uiidei!' the 6ririiin:d 
defcription of piracy, to a future trial and ignominious 
piinilhment, whenever circumftances Ihall make it 'conve- 
nient to execute vengeance on them, under thecolbur of 
that odious and infemoas offence. 

To this firft purpofe of the law, I have no fmall diflike? 
becaufe the adl does not, (as all laws, and all equitable tranf- 
a<£lions ought to do) fairly defcribe its objed. The per- 
fons, who make a naval war upon us, in confequence of 
the prefent troubles, may be rebels ; but to call and treat 
them as pirates, is confounding, not only the natural 6\€~ 
tindion of things, but the order of crimes ; which, whether 
by piitting them from a higher part of the fcale to the 
lower, or from the lower to the higher, is never done 
without- dangeroufly difordering the whole frame of jurif- 

prtidence. 



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SHERIFFS OF BRISTOL. 105 

prudence. Though piracy may be, in the eye of the 
law, a lefs offence than treafon; yet as both are, in ef- 
fect, puniihed with the fame death, the fame forfeiture, 
and the fame corruption of blood, I never would take 
from any fellow creature whatever, any fort of advan- 
tage which he may derive to his fafety from the pity of 
mankind, or to his reputation from their general feelings, 
by degrading his offence, when I cannot foften his punifli- 
ment. The general fenfe of mankind tells me, that thofe 
oiFences, which may poffibly arife from miftaken virtue, 
are not in the clafs of infamous actions. Lord Coke, the 
oracle of the Englifh law, conforms to that general fenfe 
where he fays, that " thofe things which are of the higheft 
*^ criminality may be of the leafl difgrace.** The a<St pre- 
pares a fort of mafqued proceeding, not honourable to the 
juftice of the kingdom, and by no means necefTary for its 
fafety. I cannot enter into it. If Lord Balmerino, in the 
laft rebellion, had driven off the cattle of twenty clans, I 
Ihould have thought it would have been a fcandalous and 
low juggle, utterly unworthy of the manlinefs of an Eng- 
lilh judicature, to have tried him for felony as a ftealer of 
cows. 

Befides, I mufl honefUy tell you, that I could not vote 
for, or countenance in any way, a flatute, which fligmatizes 
with the crime of piracy, thefe men, whom an a(St of par- 
liament had previoufly put out of the protection of the law. 
When the legiflature of this kingdom had ordered all their 
fhips and goods, for the mere new-created offence of exer- 
ciiing trade, to be divided as a fpoil among the feamen of 
the navy, — to confider the necefTary reprifal of an unhappy, 
profcribed, interdi(5ted people, as the crime of piracy, would 
have appeared in any other legiflature than ours, a flrain of 
the moft infulting and moll unnatural cruelty and injuftice. 

Vol. II. ' P I afTure 



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Io6 LETTER TO THE 

I affure youj I never remember to have heard of any thing 
like it in any time or country. 

The fecond profefled pnrpofe of the a6t is to detain in 
England for trial, thofe who Ihall commit high.treafon in 
America, 

That you may be enabled to enter into the true fpirit of the 
prefent law, it is neceflary, gentlemen, to apprife you, that 
there is an adt, made folong ago as in the reign of Henry the 
eighth, before the cxiftence or thought of any Englilh colo- 
nies in America, for the trial in this kingdom of treafons 
committed out of the realm. In the year 1769, parliament 
thought proper to acquaint the crown with their conftruc- 
tiwi of that a<n: in a formal addrefs, wherein they intreated 
his majefty, to caufe perfons, charged with high treafon in 
America, to be brought into this kingdom for trial. By this 
adt of Henry the eighth, y^ confirued and fo applied^ almoft 
all that is fubftantial and beneficial in a trial by jury, is taken 
away from the fubje(Sl in the colonies. This is however 
faying too little ; for to try a man under that a£t is, in tSt€ky 
to condemn him unheard. A perfon is brought hither in 
the dungeon of a Ihip^s hold : thence he is is vomited into a 
dungeon on land ; loaded with irons, unfurnifhed with mo-^ 
ney, unfuppoited by friends, three thoufand miles* from all 
means of caMing upon or confronting evidence, where no 
one local circumftance that tends to detecSt perjury, can p«f- 
fibly be judged of; — fuch a perfon may be executed accord- 
ing to form, but he can never be tried according tajuftice. 

I therefore could never reconcile myfeJf to the bill I fend 
you; which is exprefsly provided to remove all inconve- 
niences from the eftablilhment of a mode of triad, which 
has ever appeared to me moft unjuft and moft uncon- 
ftitutionah Far from removing the difficulties which 
impede the execution of fo mifchievous a project, I would 

heap 



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SHERIFFS OF BRISTOL. 107 

heap new difficulties upon it, if it were in my power. All 
the antient, honeft juridical principles and inftitutions of 
England are fo many clogs to check and retard the headlong, 
courfe of violence and oppreffion. They were invepted for 
this one good purppfe ; that what was not juft fhould not be 
convenient. Convinced of this, I would leave things as I 
found them. The old, cool-headed, general law, is as good 
as any deviation di<aat€d by prefent heat. 

I could fee no fair juftifiable expedience pleaded to favour 
this new fufpeniion of the liberty of the fubjedt. If the 
Englifli in the colonies can fupport the independency, to 
which they have been unfortunately driven, I fuppofe no- 
body has fuch a fanatical zeal for the criminal juftice of 
Henry the eighth, that he will contend for executions which 
mufl be retaliated tenfold on his own friends; or who has. 
conceived fo ftrange an idea of Engli(h dignity, as to think 
the defeats in America cpmpenfated by the triumphs at 
Tyburn. If on the contrary, the colonies are reduced to the 
obedience of the crown, there muft be under that authority, 
tribunals in the country itfelf, fully competent to adminifter 
juftice on all offenders. But if there are not, and that we 
muft fuppofe a thing fo humiliating to our government, as 
that all this vaft continent fhould unanimoufly concur in 
thinking, that no ill fortune can convert refiftance to the 
loyal authority into a criminal a£t, we may tall the eflfe^ of 
our vi^ory peace, or obedience, or what we will ; but the 
war is not ended : the hottile mind continues in full vigour,, 
and it continues under a worfe form. If your peace be no- 
thing more than a fallen paufe from arms ; if their quiet be 
nothing but the meditation of revenge, where fmirten pride 
fmarting from its wounds, fefters into new rancour, neither 
the a£t of Henry the eighth, nor its handmaid of this reign, 
will anfwer any wife end of policy or juftice. For if tlte 

P 2 bloody 



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io8 LETTER TO THE 

bloody fields, which they faw and felt, are not fufficient to 
fubdue the reafon of America (to ufe the expreflive phrafe 
of a great lord in office) it is not the judicial flaughter, 
which is made in another hemifphere againft their univer- 
fal fenfe of juftice, that will ever reconcile them to the Bri- 
tifh government. 

I take it for granted, gentlemen, that we fympathize in a 
proper horror of all punilhment further than as it ferves 
for an example. To whom then does the ejcample of an 
execution in England for this Arnerican rebellion apply? 
Remember, you are told every day, that the prefent is a 
conteft between the two countries; and that we in England 
. are at war for our own dignity againft our rebellious chil- 
dren. Is this true ? If it be, it is furely among fuch rebel- 
lious children that examples for difobedience Ihould be 
made, to be in any degree inftrudlive : for who ever thought 
of teaching parents their duty by an example from the pu- 
niftiment of an undutiful fon ? As well, might the execution 
of a fugitive negro in the plantations, be confidered as a 
leflbn to teach matters humanity to their (laves. Such exe- 
cutions may indeed fatiate our revenge ; they may harden 
our hearts ; and puflf us up with pride and arrogance. Alas ! 
this is not inftru<5tion I 

If any thing can be drawn from fuch examples by a pa- 
rity of the cafe, it is to ftiew, how deep their crime, and 
how heavy their puniftiment will be, who Ihall at any time 
dare to refift a diftant power actually difpofing of their pro- 
perty, without their voice or confent to the difpofition; and 
overturning their franchifes without charge or hearing. 
God forbid, that England fhould ever read this leflbn writ- 
ten in the blood of any of her offspring ! 

War is at prefent carried on, between the king's natural 
and foreign troops, on one fide, and the Englifh in America, 

on 



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SHERIFFS OF BRISTOL* 109 

on the other, upon the nfual footing of other wars ; and 
accordingly an exchange of prifoners has been regularly 
made from the beginning. If notwithftanding this hitherto , 
equal procedure, upon fome profpedt of ending the war 
with fuccefs (which however may be delufive) adminiftra- 
tion prepares to adt againft thofe as traitors who remain in 
their hands at the end of the troubles, in my opinion we 
Ihall exhibit to the world as indecent a piece of injuftice as 
ever civil fury has produced. If the prifoners who have 
been exchanged, have not by that exchange been virtually 
pardoned^ the cartel (whether avowed or underftood) is a 
cruel fraud ; for you have received the life of a man, and 
you ought to return a life for itj or there is no parity or fair- 
nefs in the tranfadlion. 

If on the other hand, we admit, that they, who are adhial- 
ly exchanged are pardoned, but contend that you may juftly 
refer ve for vengeance, thofe who remain unexchanged; 
then this unpleafant and unhandfome confequence will fol- 
low ; that you judge of the delinquency of men merely by 
the time of their guilt, and not by the heinoufnefs of it ; 
and you make fortune and accidents, and not the moral qua- 
Kties of human adtion the rule of your juftice. 

Thefe ftrange incongruities muft ever perplex thofe, who* 
confound the unhappinefs of civil dilTention, with thecrime 
oftreafon. Whenever a rebellion really and truly exifts, 
which is as ealily known in facSt, as it is difficult to define in 
words, government has not entered into fuch military con- 
ventions j but has ever declined all intermediate treaty, 
which fliould put rebels in pofleffion of the law of nations 
with regard to war. Conraianders would receive no bene- 
fits at their hands, becaufe they could make no return for 
them. Who hits ever heard of capitulation, and parole of 
honourj and exchange of prifoners^ in the late, rebellions in 

this 



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no LETTERTO T H ^ 

this kingdom ? The anfwer to all demands of that fort was, 
♦< we caa engage for nothing ; you are at the king's plea- 
« fare,'* We ought to remember, that if our prefent ene- 
mies be, in reality and truth, rebels, the king's generals have 
no right to releafe them upon any conditions whatfoever ; 
and they are themfelves anfwerable to the law, and; as 
muc^ in want of a pardon for doing fo, as thke rebels whom 
tbeyrejeafe. 

I^awyers, I know, cannot make the diftin<Stion, for which 
I contend; becaufe they have their ftri(St rule to go by. 
But legiflators ought to do what lawyers cannot ; for they 
have no QtheT rules to bind them, but the great principles 
of re^fon and equity, and the general fenfe of mankind. 
Thefe they are bound to obey and follow; and rather to en- 
large and enlighten law by the liberality of legiflative reafon, 
than to fetter and bind their higher capacity by the narrow 
conftru<^ions ot fubordinate artificial ji,iftice. If we had 
adverted to this, we never could confider the convulfions 
of a great empire, not difturbed by a little difTeminated fac- 
tion, but divided by whole communities and i^rovinces, and 
entire legal reprefentatives of a people, as fit matter of dif- 
cufiion under a commiflion of Oyer and Terminer. It is as 
oppofite to reafon and prudence, as it is to humanity and 
jufticq. 

This aift, proceeding on thefe principles* thax is, preparing 
to end the prefent troubles by a trial of one fort of hoftility, 
\inder the name of piracy, and of another by the name of 
treafon, and executing the a<3: of Henry the ei;ghth accord- 
ing to a new and unconftitutional interpretation^ I have 
thought evil and dangerous, even though the. ipftruments 
of effe^Sting fuch purposes had been merely cif;a ne»tral 
quality. ..♦ . . 

But it really appears to me, that the meang which this 

a(ft 



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SHERIFFS OF BRISTOL. iii 

a£k employs are^ at leaft, as exceptionable as the end. Per- 
tnit me to open myfelf a little upon this fubjedt, becaufe it 
is of importance to me, when I am obliged to fubmit to the 
power without acquiefcing in the reafon of an adt of legi- 
llature, that 1 Ihould juftif y my diffent, by fuch argument* 
as may be fuppofed to have weight with a fober man. 

The main operative regulation of the adl is to fufpend the 
common law, and the ftatute, Habeas Corpus^ (the fole fe- 
curities either for liberty or juftice) with regard to all thofe 
who have been out of the realm or on the high feas, within 
a given time. The reft of the people, as I underftand^ are 
to continue as they ftood before. 

I confefs, gentlemen, that this appears to me, as bad in 
the principle, and far worfe in its confequence, than all 
univerfal fufpenfion of the Habeas Corpus a£t ; and the li- 
miting qualification^ inftead of taking out the fting, does in 
J3jy humble opinion iharpen and envenom it to a greater 
degree. Liberty^ if 1 underftand it at all, is a general prin- 
ciple, and the dear right of all the fubje^^s within the realm, 
or of none. Partial freedom feems to me a moft invidious 
mode of fiavery. But unfortunately, it is the kind of 
flavcry the moft eafily admitted in times of civil difcord; 
for parties, are but too apt to forget their own future fafety 
in their defire of facrificing their enemies. People without 
much difficuky admit the entrance of that i^njuftice of 
which they are not to be the immediate vwStims. In times 
of high proceeding it is never the faction of the predominant 
power, that is in danger; for no tyranny chaftifes its own 
inftroments. It is the obnoxious and the fufpecfled who 
want the protection of law ; and there is nothing to bridle 
the partial violence of ftate factions, but this ; *^ that when- 
*^ ever an a«9: is made for a ceflation of law and juftice, 
^* the whole people Ihould be univerfally fubjecfted to the 
'* ^* fame 



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112 . L E T T E R. TO THE 

^^ fame fufpenfion of their franchifes.'* The alarm of fuch 
a proceeding would then be univerfaL It would operate as 
a fort of Call of the nation. It would become every man's 
immediate and inftant concern to be made very fenfible of the 
^bfolute neceffity of this total eclipfe of liberty. . They would 
more carefully advert to every renewal, and more power- 
fully refift it. Thefe great determined meafures are not 
commonly fo dangerous to freedom. They are marked 
with too ftrong Unes to Aide into ufe. No plea, nor pre- 
tence of inconvenience or evil example (which muft in their 
nature be daily and ordinary incidents) can be admitted as 
a reafon for fuch mighty operations. But the true danger 
is, when liberty is nibbled away, for expedients, and by 
parts. The Habeas Corpus a<El fuppofes, contrary to the 
genius of molt other laws, that the lawful magiftrate may 
fee particular men with a malignant eye, and it provides 
for that identical cafe. But when men, in particular de- 
fcriptions, marked out by the magiftrate himfelf, are deli- 
vered over by parliament to this poflible malignity, it is 
not iht, Habeas Corpus that is occalionally fufpended, but 
its fpirit, that is miftaken, and its principle that is fubverted. 
Indeed nothing is fecurity to any individual but the common 
intereft of all. 

This a6t therefore, has this diftinguiftied evil in it, that 
it is the firft partial fufpenfion of the Habeas Corpus that 
has been made. The precedent, which is always of very 
great importance, is now eftablifhed. For the firft time a 
diftindion is made among the peoi>le within this realm. 
Before this adt, every man putting his foot on Englifh 
ground, every ftranger owing only a local and temporary 
allegiance, even negro flaves, who had been fold in the 
colonies and under an ad; of parliament^ became as free as 
every other man who breathed the fame air with them. 

Now 



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SHERIFFS OF BRISTOL. 113 

Now a line is drawn, which may be advanced further and 
farther at pl^afure^ on the fame argument of mere expe- 
dience, on which it was firft defcribed. There is no equa- 
lity among us ; we are hot fellow-citizens, if the mariner 
who lands on the quay, does not reft on as firm legal 
ground, as the merchant who. fits in his compting-houfe. 
Other laws may injure the community, this diffolves it. 
As things now ftand, every man in the Well-Indies, every 
one inhabitant of three unoffending provinces on the con- 
tinent, every perfon coming from the Eaft-Indies, every 
gentleman who has travelled for his health or education, 
every mariner who has navigated the feas, is, for no other 
offence, under a temporary profcription. Let any of thefe 
fadts (now become prefumptions of guilt) be proved againft 
him, and the bare fufpicion of the crown, puts him out of 
the law. It is even by no means clear to me, whether the 
negative proof does not lie upon the perfon apprehended on 
fufpicion, to the fubverfion of all juftice. 

I have not debated againft this bill in its progrefs through 
the houfe ; becaufe it would have been vain to oppofe, and 
impofilible to corredt it. It is forae time fince I have been 
dearly convinced, that in the prefent ftate of things, all 
oppofition to any meafures propofed by minifters, where 
the name of America appears, is vain and frivolous. You 
may be fure, that I do not fj^eak of my oppofition, which in 
all circumftances muft be fo \ but that of men of the greateft 
wifdom and authority in the nation. Every thing propofed 
againft: America is fuppofed of courfe to be in favour of 
Great Britain. Good an^ ill fuccefs are equally admitted as 
reafons for perfevering in the prefent methods. ' Several 
very prudent^ and very well-intentioned perfons were of 
opinion, that during the prevalence of fuch difpofitions, ajl 
ftruggle rather inflamed than leffened the diftemper of the 

Vjol. II. Q put)lic 



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ti4 L E T T E R T O THE 

public counfels. Finding fuch refiftance to be confidered 
as fadlious by moft within doors, and by very many with- 
out, I cannot confcientioully fupport what is againft my opi- 
nion, nor prudently contend with what I know is irrefiftible. 
Preferving my principles unftiaken, I referve ray activity 
for rational endeavours ; and I hope that my paft condu^ 
has given fufRcient evidence, that if I am a fingle day from 
my place, it is not owing to indolence or love of diffipation. 
The flighteft hope of doing good is fujSicient to recall me 
tp what I quitted with regret. In declining for fome time 
my ufual ftri6t attendance, I do not in the leaft condemn 
the (pirit of thofe gentlemen, who with a juft confidence in 
their abilities, (in which I claim a fort of fhare from my love 
and admiration of them) were of opinion that their exer- 
tions in this defperate cafe might be of fome fervic6. They 
thought, that hy contracting the fphere of its application, 
they might leffen the malignity of an evil principle. Perhaps 
they were in the right. But when my opinioa was fo 
very clearly to the contrary for the reafons I have juft 
ftated, I am fure my attendance would have been ridicu- 
lous. 

I muft add, in further explanation of my conduift, th«t 
far from foftening the features of fuch a principle, and 
thereby removing any part of the popular odium or natu- 
ral terrors attending it, I (hould be forry^ that any thing 
framed in contradidlion to the fpirit of our conftitution did 
not inliantly produce in fa<ft, the groffeft of the evils, with 
which it was pregnant in its niture. It is by lying dormant 
a longtime, or being firft very rarely exercifed, that arbi* 
trary power Iteals upon a people. On the next unconfti- 
tutional acSt, all the fafhionable world will be ready to fay— .- 
Your prophecies are ridiculous, your fears are vain, you 
fee how little of the mifchiefs which you formerly fore- 

8 ' hoded 



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SHERIFFS OF BRISTOL. 115 

boded are come to pafs. Thus, by degreesi that artful 
foftening of all arbitrary power, the alledged infrequency 
or narrow extent of its operation, will be received as a fort 
of aphorifm — and Mr, Hume will not be Angular in telling 
us, that the felicity of mankind is no more difturbed by it^ 
than by earthquakes, or thunder, or the other more unufual 
accidents of nature. 

The a6l of which I fpeak is among the fruits of the Ame- 
rican war; a war in my humble opinion, produdlive of 
many mifchiefs of a kind, which diftinguifh it fronv all 
others. Not only our policy is deranged, and our empire 
diftra^ed, but our laws and our legiflative fpirit appear to 
have been totally perverted by it. We have made war on 
our colonies, not by arms only, but by laws. As hoftility 
and law are not very concordant ideas, every ftep we have 
taken in this bufinefs^ has been made by trampling on fome 
maxim of juftice, or fome capital principle of wife govern- 
ment. What precedents were eftai^lilhed, and what prin- 
ciples overturned, (I will not fay of Englilh privilege but of 
general juftice) in the Bofton Port, the Maffachufet's Char- 
ter, the Military Bill, and all that long array of hoftile adls 
of parliament, by which the war with America has been 
begun and fupported ! Had the principles of any of thefe 
adts been firft exerted on Englifti ground they would pro- 
bably have expired as foon as they touched it. But by 
being removed from our perfons, they have rooted in our 
laws ; and the lateft pofterity will tafte the faiits of them. 

Nor is it the worft effect of this unnatural contention, 
that our laws are corrupted. Whilll manners remain intire, 
they will corre^ the vices of law, and foften it at length to 
their own temper. But we have to lament, that in moft of 
the late proceeding? we fee very few traces of that genero- 
iity, humvinity, and dignity of mind which formerly cha- 

Q 2 ra<5terized 



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ii6 L E T T E R T O T H E 

. ra^rized this nation. War fufpends the rnles of mbrai 
•obligation, and what is long fufpendcd is in danger of being 
totally abrogated. Civil wars ftrike deepeft of all into the 
manners of the people. They vitiate their politicks; they 
corrupt their morals; they pervert even the natural tafte and 
relifh of equity and juftice. By teaching us to coofider ouf 
fellow-citizens in an hoftile light, the whole body of our 
nation becomes gradually lefs dear to u&r The very names> 
of afi^dtion and kindred, which were the bond of charity 
whilft we agreed,, become new incentives tcr hatred* and^ 
rage, when the communion of our country is difloNed. We 
may ffatter oiirfelves that we (hall not fali into this misfor- 
tune. But we have no charter of exemption, that I know 
of, from the ordinary frailties of our'natnre. 

What but that blindtiefs of heart which arifes from the: 
phrenfy of civiJ contention,^ could have made any perfons 
conceive the prefent iituation of the Britifli aflairs as an obK. 
jedt of triumph to themfelves, or of congratulation to theiff 
fovereign ? Nothing furely could be more lamentable to thofe 
who remember the flourrfhing days of this kingdom^ than 
to fee the infane joy of feveral unhappy people, amidft the 
fad fpe£fcaele wMch oar afifairs and condu<£l exhibit to the 
fcorn of Europe. We behold, (and it feems ibme people re^ 
joice in beholding) our native land, which ufed to fit the 
envied arbiter of alf her neighbouf^, reduced to a fervile de- 
pendence on their mercy; acguiefcing in. aflurances of 
friendfhip which (he does not truft ; complaining of hoftili- 
ties which (he dares not refent ; dfeficient to her allies ;• lofty 
to her fufbje<£ts, and fubmiffive to her enemies ; whilft the 
liberal government of this free nation is fupported by the 
hireling fword of German boors and vaffal's ; and three mil* 
lions of the fubjefts of Great Britain are feeking for mo- 
te<Stion to Engliih privileges in the arms of France I 

Thtffe 



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SHERIFFS OF BRISTOL. 117 

T hefe circumftances appear to me more like (hocking pro- 
digies, than natural changes in human affairs. Men of 
firmer minds may fee them without ftaggering or aftoniUif 
ment. — Some may think them matters of congratulation and 
complimentary addreflfes ; but I truft your candouc will be 
fo imlulgent to my weaknefs, as not to have the worfe opi- 
nion of me for my declining to participate in this- joy ;, and 
my rejedling all ihare w-hatfoever in fuch a triumphi. I am 
too old^too- ftiffin my inveterate partialities, to be ready at 
all the fefljionable evolutions of opinion. I fcarcely kno\r 
htrw tcr adapt my mind to the feelings with which th6 court 
gazettes mean ta imprefs the people. It is not inftantly that 
1 can be brought to rejoice, when I hear of the {laughter 
and captivity of long lifts of thofe names which hav« been 
familiar ta my ears from my infancy, and' to rejoice that 
they have faHenuiider thefword.offtrangers,,whofe barba- 
rous appellations I fcarcely know how to pronounce. The 
glory acquired at the White Plains by Colonel Raille,- has no- 
charms for me ; and 1 fairly acknowledge, that I have not yet 
learned ta delight in fmding Fort Kniphaufen in the heait 
«f the Btitifti dominions.. 

It might be fome confolation for the Ibfs of our: old re- 
gards, if our reafon were enlightened in. proportion as our 
honeft prejudices are removed. Wanting feelings for the 
honour of our country, we might then in- cold blood be 
brought to think a^ little of our interefts as individual citi» 
zens, and our private confcienceas morale agents.- 

Indeed our affairs are in= a bad condition. I" do-aflhre 
thofe gentlemen who have prayed for war,, and obtsdned the 
blieffing they have fought, that they are at this inftant in 
very great ftraits. The abufbd wealth of this country con- 
tinues a little longer to feed its diftemper. As yet they, and 
their German allies of twenty hireling ftates,.have contend- 
ed 



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Ii8 LETTER TO THE 

ed only with the unprepared ftrength of our own infant co- 
lonies. But America is not fubdued. Not one unattacked 
village which was originally adverfe throughout that vaft 
continent, has yet fubmitted from love or terror. You have 
the ground you encamp on ; and you have no more. The 
cantonments of your troops and your dominions are exactly, 
of the fame extent. You fpread devaftation, but you do not 
enlarge the fphere of authority. 

The events of this war are of fo much greater magnitude 
than thofe who either wilhed or feared it, ever looked for, 
that this alone ought to fill every conliderate mind with anx- 
iety and diffidence. Wife men often tremble at the very 
things which fill the thoughtlefs with fecurity. For many 
reafons I do not choofe to expofe to public view, all the par- 
ticulars of the ftate in which you flood with regard to fo- 
reign powers, during the whole courfe of the laft year. 
Whether you arc yet wholly out of danger from them, is 
nlore than I know, or than your rulers can divine. But 
even if I were certain of my fafety, I could not eafily for- 
give thofe who had brought me into the moft dreadful pe- 
rils, becaufe by accidents, unforefeen by them or me, I have 
efcaped^ 

Believe me, gentliemen, the way ftill before you is intri- 
cate, dark^ and full of perplexed and treacherous mazes. 
Thofe who think they have the clue, may lead us out of 
this labyrinth. We may truft them as amply as we think 
proper; but as they have moft certainly a call for all the 
reafon which their ftock c^n furnifti, why fliould we think 
it proper to difturb its. operation by inflaming their paffions? 
I niay be unable to lend an helping hand to thofe who diredl 
the ftate ; but I fhould be afliamed to nnake myfelf one pf a 
noify multitude to hollow and hearten them into . doubt;ful 
and dangerous courfes.. A coafcie^tious man would be 

cautious 



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SHERIFFS OF BRISTOL, 119 

cautions how he dealt in blood. He would feel fome appre- 
henfion at l^cin^^ called to a tremendous account for en- 
gaging in fo deep a pJay, without any fort of. knowledge of 
the game. It is no excufe for prefumptuous ignorance, that 
it is direfted by infolent paffion. The pooreft being that 
crawls on earth, contending to fave itfelf from injuftice and 
oppreflion, is an objcdt refpedlable in the eyes of God and 
man. But 1 cannot conceive any exiftence under heaven, 
(which in the depths of its wifdom, tolerates all forts of 
things) that is more truly odious and difgufting, than an 
impotent helplefs creature, without civil wifdom, or military 
fkill, without a confcioufnefs of any other qualification for 
power but his fervility to it, bloated with pride and arro-* 
gance, calling for battles which he is not to fight, contend* 
ing for a violent dominion which he can never exercife, and 
fatisfied to be himfelf mean and miferable, in order tb render 
others contemptible and wretched. 

If you and 1 find our talents not of the great and ruling 
kind, our conduct at leaft, is conformable to our faculties. 
No man's life pays the forfeit of our rafhnefs. No defblate 
widow weeps tears of blood over our ignorance* Scnipo-^ 
lous and foberin our well-grounded diftruft of ourfelves, we 
would keep in the port of peace and fecurity ; and perhaps 
in recommending to others fomething of the fame diffif* 
dence, we fhould Ihew ourfelves more charitable to their 
welfare, than injurious to their abilities. 

There are many circumftances in the zeal fl^ewn for civil 
war, which feem to difcover but little of real magnanimity^ 
The ad'dreflers offer their own perfons, and they are fatisfied 
with hiring Germans. They promife their private fortunes, 
and they mortgage their country. They have all the mei'it 
of volohteers, without rifque of perfon or chai^ge of contrim 
bution*; and when the unfeeling arm of a foreign foldiery 

pours 



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I20 "LETTER ^O THE 

pours out their kindred blood like water, they exult and 
triumph as if they themfelves had performed fome notable 
exploit. I am .really alhamed of the fan:iionable language 
which has been held for fome time paft.; which. to fay the 
beft of it, is full of levity. You know, that 1 allmle to the 
general ;cry againft the cowardiceof the Americans, as if we 
4efpifed them for not making the king's foldiery purchafc 
the advantage they have obtained, .at ,a dearer rate. It is 
not, gentlemen, it is not, to refpedt the difpen£atioQS of Pro- 
yidence, nor t<j provide any decent retreat in the mutability, 
of human affairs. It leaves no medium b^ween infolent 
viiStory and infamous defeat. It tends to alienate our minds 
further and further from our natural regards, and to make 
an eternal sent ^and fchifm in the Britiih aation. Thofe 
who4o not with for £uch a reparation, would not diffolve 
tiiat cement 4>f reciprocal efteem and regard, which can 
alone bind together the parts of this gr^at fabrick. It ought 
to be our-wilh, as it is our duty, not only to forbear this 
ftyle of outrage ourfeWes, but to make every one as £en(iUe 
fts we can of the impropriety and unworthinefs of the tem- 
paat which give rife to it, and which defigning men are la- 
bouring with fuch majignant indufkry to difiufe amongft us. 
It is our bufinefs tp counteract them, if poffible ; if poilible 
to awake our natural regards ; and to revive the old partia- 
lity to (the Englifh name. Without fomething of this kind 
J do not fee how it is' ever practicable really to reconcile 
with thofe, whofe affeClion, after all, muft be the fureft hold 
of our gov^ament ; and which is a thoufand times more 
wojth to us, than the mercenary zeal of all the circles of 
Qermany. 

I can well conceive a ^cpuntry completely over-run, and 
miferably wafted, without approaching in the leaft to fettle- 
xnent. In my appreheniion as long as Engliih government 

is 



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SHERIFFS OF BRISTOL. 121 

is attempted to be fupported over Englifhmen by the fword 
alone, things will thus continue, I anticipate in my mind 
the moment of the final triumph of foreign military force. 
When that hour arrives, (for it may arrive) then it is, that 
all this mafs of weaknefs and violence will appear in its full 
light. If we Ihould be expelled from America, the delufion 
of the partizans of military government might ftill continue. 
They might ftill feed their imaginations with the poflible 
good confequences which might have attended fuccefs. 
Nobody could prove the contrary by facSts. But in cafe the 
fword Ihould do all, that the fword can do, the fuccefs of 
their arms and the defeat of their policy, will be one and 
the fame thing. You will never fee any revenue from 
America. Some increafe of the means of corruption. With- 
out eafe of the public burthens, is the very beft that can 
happen. Is it for this that we are at war ; and in fuch a 
war ? 

As to the difficulties of laying once more the foundations 
of that government, which, for the fake of conquering 
what was our own, has been voluntarily and wantonly pulled 
down by a court fadlion here, I tremble to look at them. 
Has any of thefe gentlemen, who are fo eager to govern all 
mankind (hewed himfelf pofleffed of the firft qualification to- 
wards government, fbme knowledge of the objedl, and of the 
difficulties which occur in the tafk they have undertaken ? 

I aflure you, that on the moft profperous iffiie of your 
arms, you will not be where you itood, when you called in 
war to fupply the defeats of your political eftablifhment. 
Nor would any diforder or difobedience to government^ 
which could arife from the moft abjedt conceffion on our 
part, ever equal thofe which will be felt, after the moft 
triumphant violence. You have got all the intermediate 
evik of war into the bargain. 

Vol. II. R I think 



/ 



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laa LETTER TO THE 

I think I know America. If I do not, my ignorance is 
incurable, for I have fpared no pains to underftand it ; and 
1 do moft folemnly aflure thofe of my conftituents who put 
any fort of confidence in my induftry and integrity, that 
every thing that has been done there has arifen from a total 
mifconception of the objedt : that our means of originally 
holding America, that our means of reconciling with it after 
quarrel, of recovering it after feparation, of keeping it after 
vi<£tory, did depend, and muft depend, in their feveral 
ftages and periods, upon a total renimciation of that uncon- 
ditional fubmiffion, which has taken fuch poffeffion of the 
minds of violent men. The whole of thofe maxims, upon 
which we have made and continued this, war, muft be 
abandoned* Nothing indeed, (for 1 would not deceive you) 
can place Us in our former fituation. That hope muft be 
laid afide. But there is a difierence between bad and the 
worft of all. Terms relative to the caufe of the war ought 
to be oflfered by the authority of parliament. An arrange- 
ment at home promifing fome fecurity for them ought to 
be made« By doing this, without the leaft impairing of our 
ftrength, we add to the credit of our moderation, which in 
itfelf, is always ftrength more or lels. 

I know many have been taught to think, that moderation, 
in a cafe like this, is a ibrt of treafbn ; and that all argu<- 
ments for it are fufficiently anfwered by railing at rebels 
and rebellion, and by charging all the prefent or future 
miferies which we may fuffer, on the refiftance of our 
brethren. But I would wilh them, in this grave matter, 
and if peace is not wholly removed from their hearts, to 
confider ferioufly, firft, that to criminate and recriminate 
never yet was the road to reconciliation, in any difference 
amongft men. in the next place, it would be right to re- 
fleiSt, that the American Englilh (whom they may abufe, 

4 if 



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SHERIFFS OF BRISTOL. 123 

if they think it honourable to revile the abfent) can, as 
things now ftand, neither be provoked at our railing, or 
bettered by our inftrudtion. All communication is cut off 
between us. But this we know with certainty, that though 
we cannot reclaim them, we may reform ourfelves. If 
meafures of peace are neceflary, they muft begin fome- 
where ; and a conciliatory temper muft precede and prepare 
every plan of reconciliation. Nor do I conceive that we 
fuffer any thing by thus regulating our own minds. We 
are not difarmed, by being difencumbered of our paflions. 
Declaiming on rebellion never added a bayonet, or a charge 
of powder to your military force ; but I ».m afraid that it 
has been the means of taking up many mulkets againft 
you. 

This outrageous language, which has been encouraged 
and kept alive by every art, has already done incredible 
mifchief. For a long time, even amidft the defolations of 
war, and the infults of hoftile laws daily accumulated on 
one another ; the American leaders feem to have had the 
greatefk difficulty in bringing up their people to a declaration 
of total independence. But the court gazette accomplilhed 
what the abettors of independence had attempted in vain. 
When that difingenuous compilation, and ftrange medley 
of railing and flattery, was adduced, as a proof of the 
united fentiments of the people of Great Britain, there was 
a great change throughout all America. The tide of popu- 
lar afie(5tion, which had ftill fet towards the parent country, 
begun immediately to turn ; and to flow with great rapidity 
in a contrary courfe. Far from concealing thefe wild de- 
clarations of enmity, the author of the celebrated pamphlet 
which prepared the minds of the people for independence, 
ihflfts largely on the multitude and the fpirit of thefe ad- 
dreiJes^ and he draws an argument from them, which (if 

R 2 the 



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124 LETTER TO THE 

the fa6l were as he fuppofes) mnft be irrefiftible. For I never 
knew a writer on the theory of government fo partial to au- 
thority, as not to allow, that the hoftile mind of the rulers to 
their people, did fully juftify a change of government ; nor 
can any reafon whatever be given, why one people fhould 
voluntarily yield any degree of pre-eminence to another, but 
on a fuppofition of great affecSlion and benevolence towards 
them. Unfortunately your rulers, trufting to other things, 
took no notice of this great principle of connexion. From 
the beginning of this affair, they have done all they could 
to alienate your minds from your own kindred ; and if they 
could excite hatred enough in one of the parties towards the 
other, they fe^med to be of opinion that they had gone half 
the way towards reconciling the quarrel. 

I know it is faid, that your kindnefs is only alienated on 
account of their refiftance ; and therefore if the colonies 
furrender at difcretion, all fort of regard, and even much 
indulgence is meant towards them in future. But can thofe 
who are partizans for continuing a war to enforce fuch a 
furrender, be refponfible, (after all that has paffed) for 
fuch a future ufe of a power, that is bound by no compa<5ts, 
and reftrained by no terror ? Will thtsy tell us what they 
call indulgencics ? Do they not at this inftant call the pre- 
fent war and all its horrors, a lenient and merciful pro- 
ceeding ? 

No conqueror, that I ever heard of has profeffed to make 
a cruel, harfh, ,and infolent ufe of his conqueft. No ! The 
man of the moft declared pride, fcarcely dares to truft his 
own heart, with this dreadful fecret of ambition. But it 
will appear in its time; and no man who profeffes to reduce 
another to the infolent mercy of a foreign arm, ever had 
any fort of good^will towards him. The profeffion of kind- 
nefs, with that fword in his hand^ and that demand of fur-. 

render. 



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SHERIFFS OF BRISTOL. 125 

render, is one of the moft provoking a6ts of his hoftility . I 
ihaU be told, that all this is lenient as againft rebellious ad- 
verfaries- But are the leaders of their faction more lenient 
to thofe who fubmit ! Lord Howe and General Howe have 
powers under an a6t of parliament, to reftore to the king's 
peace and to free trade any men, or diftridt, which Ihall fub- 
mit. Is this done ? We have been over and over informed 
by the authorifed gazette, that the city of New York, and 
the countries of Staten and Long Ifland have fubmitted vo- 
luntarily and cheerfully, and that many are very full of zeal 
to the caufeof adminiltration. Were they inftantly reftored 
to trade i Are they yet reftored to it ? Is not the benignity 
of two commiflioners, naturally moft humane and generous 
men, fome way fettered by inftrudlions, equally againft their 
difpofitions and the fpirit of parliamentary faith ; when Mr. 
Tryon, vaunting of the fidelity of the city in which he is 
governor, is obliged to apply to miniftry for leave to proteA 
the king's loyal fubjedls, and to grant to them (not the dif- 
puted rights and privileges of freedom) but the common 
rights of men, by the name of graces f Why do not the 
commifliooers reftore them on the fpot ? Were they not 
named as commiffioners for that exprefs purpofe ? But we 
fee well enough to what the whole leads. The trade of 
America is. to be dealt out in private indulgencies and graces ; 
that is in jobs to recompenfe the incendiaries of war. 
They will be informed of the proper time in which to fend 
out their merchandife. From a national, the. American 
trade is to be turned into a perfonal monQpoly : and one fet 
of merchants are to be rewarded for the pretended zeal, of 
which another fet ^re the dupes ; and thus between craft 
and credulity, the voice of reafon is ftifled; and all the 
mifcondu<5t, all the calamities of the war are covered and 
continued* 

If 



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126 LETTER TO THE 

If I had not lived long enough to be little furprized at any 
thing) I fhould have been in fome degree aftonilhed at the 
continued rage of feveral gentlemen, who not fatisfied with 
carrying fire and fword into America, are animated nearly 
with the fame fury againft thofe neighbours of theirs, whofe 
only crime it is, that they have charitably and humanely 
wi(hed them to entertain more reafonable fentiments, and 
not always to facrifice their intereft to their paffion. All 
thiK rage againft unrefifting diflent, convinces me, that at 
bottom, they are far from fatisfied they are in the right. 
For what is it they would have ? A war ? They certainly have 
at this moment the bleffing of fomething that is very like 
one ; and if the war they enjoy at prefent be not fufiiciently 
hot and extenfive, they may (hortly have it as warm and as 
Spreading as their hearts can defire. Is it the force of the 
kingdom they caU for? They have it ^ready ; and if they 
choofe to fight their batdes in their own perfon, no body 
prevents their fetting fail to America in the next tranfports. 
Do they think, that the fervioe is ftinted for want of liberal 
fupplies ? Indeed they com^dain without reafon. The table 
of the houfe of commons Will glut them, kt their appetite 
for expence be never fo keen. And I aflure them further, 
that thofe who think with them in the houfe of commons 
are ftdl as eafy in the control, as they are liberal in the vote 
of thefe expences. If this be not fupj^y or confidence fufli- 
cient, let them open their own private purfe firings and give 
from what is left to them, as largely and with as little care as 
they think proper. 

Tolerated in thdr paffions, let them learn not to perfecute 
the moderation of their fellow citizens. If all the world 
joined them in a full cry againft rebellion, and wer§ as hotly 
inflamed againft the whole. theory and enjoyment of free- 
dom, as thofe who are the moft fa<aious for fervitude, it 

could 



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SHERIFFS OF BRISTOL. 127 

could not. in my opinion anfwer any one end whatfoever in 
this conteft. The leaders of this war could not hire (to gra- 
tify their friends) one German more, than they do; or in- 
fpire him with lefs feeling for the .perfons, or lefs value for 
the privileges of their revolted brethren. If we all adopted 
their fentiments to a man, their allies the favage Indians, 
could not be more ferocious than they are : they could not 
murder one more helplefs woman or child, or with more 
exquifite refinements of cruelty, torment to death one more 
of their Englifh flefti and blood, than they do already. Thd 
public money is given to purchafe this alliance ;.-^and they 
have their bargain. 

They are continually boafting of unanimity, or calling foy 
it. But before this unanimity can be matter either of wilh 
or congratulation, we ought to be pretty fure, that we are 
engaged in a rational purluit. Phrenfy does not become a 
(lighter diftemper on account of the number of thofe who 
may be xnft&ed with it. Dduflon and weaknefs produce 
not one mifchief the lefs, becaufe they are univerfal. I de- 
dare, that I carniot difceni the leaft advantage, which could 
accrue to us, if we were able to perfuade our colonies that 
they bad not a iingle friend in Great Britain. On the con» 
tr^y, if the affections and opinions of mankind be not ex- 
jidoded as principles of comiexion, I conceive it would be 
happy for us, if they were taught to believe, that there was- 
even a formed American party in England, to whom they 
could always look for fupport ! Happy would it be for us, 
if in all tempers, they might turn their eyes to the parent 
Hate ; fo that their very turbulence and' fedition fhould find 
vent m no other place than this. I believe there is not a 
man (except thofe who prefer the intereft of fome paltry fac- 
tion to the very being of their country) who would not wifh 
that the Americans ihould from time to time carry many 

points. 



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128 LETTER TO THE 

points, and even fome of them not quite reafonable, by the 
aid of any denomination of men here, rather than they 
(hould be driven to feek for protedtion againft the fury of 
foreign mercenaries, and the wafte of favages, in the arms 
of France. 

When any community is fubordinately connected with 
another, the great danger of the connexion is the extreme 
pride and felf-complacency of the fuperior, which in all 
matters of controverfy will probably decide in its own fa- 
vour. It is a powerful corredUve to fuch a very rational 
caufe of fear, if the inferior body can be made to believe, 
that the party inclination or political views of feveral in the 
principal ftate, will induce them in fome degree to counter- 
aft this bKnd and tyrannical partiality. There is no danger 
that any one acquiring confideration or power in tjie pre- 
liding ftate fhould carry this leaning to the inferior too far. 
The fault of human nature is not of that fort. Power in 
whatever hands is rarely guilty of too ftridt limitations on 
itfelf. But one great advantage to the fupport of authority 
attends fuch an amicable and prote6ling connexion, that 
thofe who have conferred favours obtain influence; and 
from the forefight of future .events can perluade men, who 
have received obligations fometimes to return them. Thus 
by the mediation of thofe healing principles, (call them 
good or evil) troublefome difcuflions are brought to fome 
fort of adjuftment ; and- every hot controverfy is not a civil 
war. 

But, if the colonies (to bring the general matter home to 
us) could fee, that in Great Britain the mafs of the people 
is melted into its government, and that every difpute with 
the miniftry, muft of neceflity be always a quarrel with 
the nation ; they can ftand no longer in the equal and 
friendly relation of fellow-citizens to the fubje£ts of this 

kingdom. 



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SHERIFFS OF BRISTOL. 129 

kingdom. Humble as this relation may appear to fome^ 
when it is once broken, a ftrong tie is diflblved. Other fort 
of connexions will be fought. For, there are very few in 
the world, who will not prefer an ufeful ally to an infolent 
mafter. 

Such difcord has been the effe£t of the unanimity into 
which fo many have of late been feduced or bullied, or into 
the appearance of which they have funk through mere 
defpair. They have been told that their diffent from vio- 
lent meafures is an encouragement to rebellion. Men of 
great prefumption and little knowledge will hold a language 
which is contradicted by the whole courfe of hiftory. Ge- 
neral rebellions and revolts of an whole people never were 
encouraged^ now or at any time. They are always provoked. 
But if this unheard-of dodtrine of the encouragement of 
rebellion were true, if it were true that an aflurance of the 
friendlhip of numbers in this country, towards the colonies 
could become an encouragement to them, to break off all 
connexion with it, what is the inference ? Does any body 
ferioufly maintain, that charged with my Ihare of the pub- 
lic councils, I am obliged not to refift projeAs which I think 
mifchievous, left men who fufFer Ihould be encouraged to 
refift ? The very tendency of fuch projects to produce re- 
bellion is one of the chief reafons againft them. Shall that 
reafon not be given ? Is it then a rule, that no man in this 
nation fliall open his mouth in favour of the colonies, (hall 
defend their rights, or complain of their fufFerings? Or 
when war finally breaks out, no mail fhall exprefs his de- 
fires of peace ? Has this been the law of our paft, or is it to 
be the terms of our future connexion ? Even looking no 
further than ourfelves, can it be true loyalty to any govern- 
ment, or true patriotifm towards any country, to degrade 
their folemn Councils into fervile drawingrrooms, to flatter 
Vol. II. S their 



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I30 LETTERTOTHE 

their pride and paflions, rather than to enlighten their 
reafon, and to prevent them from being cautioned againft 
violence left others (hould be encouraged to refiftance r By 
fuch acqiiiefcence great kings and mighty nations have 
been undone ; and if any are at this day in a perilous fitua-; 
tion from rejecting truth, and liftening to flattery, it would 
rather become them to reform the errors under which they 
fufFer, than to reproach thofe who forewarned them of 
their danger. 

But the rebels looked for affiftance from this coiuitry. 
They did fo in the beginning of this controverfy moft cer- 
tainly ; and they fought it by earneft fupplications to go- 
vernment, which dignity rejedted, and by a fui^enfion of 
commerce, which the wealth of this nation enabled you to 
defpife. When they found that neither prayers nor me- 
naces had any fort of weight, but that a firm refolution was 
taken to reduce them to unconditional obedience by a mili- 
tary force, they came to the laft extremity* Defpairing of 
us, they trufted in themfelves. Not ftrong enough them- 
felves, they fought fuccour in France. In proportion as all 
encouragement here leffened, their diftance from this coun- 
try encreafed. The encouragement is over ; the alienation 
is compleat. 

In order to produce this favourite unanimity in delufion, 
and to prevent all p&fiibillty of a return to our antient happy 
concord, argumetits for our continuance in this courfe, are 
drawn from the wretched fituation itfelf into which we have 
been betrayed. It is faid, that being at war with the colonies, 
whatever our fentiments might have been before, all ties 
between us are now diflblved ; and all the policy we have 
left, is to ftrengthen the hands of government to reduce 
them. On the principle of this argument, the more mif- 
chiefs we fuSar from any admiQiftratiop the more our 

truft 



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S HER JIFFS, OF B H I S T O L. 131 

>truft*in it is to be confirmed. Let them but once get us 
into a war, and then their power is fafe, and an a6l of 
oblivion paft for all their mifcondu(5t. 

But is it really true, that government is always to be 
ftrengthened with the inftruments of war, but never fur- 
niftied with the means of peace ? In former times minifters, 
I allow, have been fometimes driven by the popular voice 
to aflert by arms the national honour againft foreign pow- 
ers. But the wifdom of the nation has been far more clear, 
when thofe minifters have been compelled to confult its 
interefts by treaty. We all know that the fenfe of the nation 
obliged the court of King Charles the fecond to abandon the 
Dutch war ; a war next to the prefent the moft impolitic 
which we ever carried on. The good people of England 
confidered Holland as a fort of dependency on this king- 
dom ; they dreaded to drive it to the protection, or fubjedt 
it to the power of France, by their own inconfiderate hofti- 
lity. They paid but little refpedt to the court jargon of that 
day ; nor were they inflamed by the pretended rivalfliip of 
tlie Dutch in trade ; by their maffacre at Aniboyna, adted 
on the ftage to provoke the public vengeance; nor by. 
declamations againft the ingratitude of the United Provinces 
for the benefits England had conferred upon them in their 
mfant ftate. They were not moved from their evident in- 
tereft by all thefe arts ; nor was it enough to tell them, they 
were at war ; that they mtift go through with it ; and that 
the caufe of the difpute was loft in the coqfequences. The 
people of England were then, as they are now, called upon 
to make government ftxong. They thought it a great deal 
better to make it wife and honeft. 

When I was amongft my conftituents at the laft fummer 
aflizes, I remember that men of all defcriptions did then ex- 
prefs a very ftroag defire for peace, and no flight hopes of 

S 2 attaining 



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iSi LETTER TO THE 

attaining it from the commiflion fent out by my Lord 
Howe. And it is not a little remarkable, that in proportion 
as every perfon ftiewed a zeal for the court meafiires, he 
was then earneft, in circulating, an opinion of the extent of 
the fuppofed powers of that commiflion. When I told them 
that Lord Howe had no powers to treat, or to promife. fatif- 
faction on any point whatfoever of the controverfy, I was 
hardly credited ; fo ftrong and general was the defire of ter- 
minating this war by the method of accommodation. As 
far as I could difcover, this was the temper then prevalent 
through the kingdom. The king's forces it muft be ob- 
ferved had at that time been obliged to evacuate Bofton. 
The fuperiority of the former campaign refled wholly with 
the colonifts. If fuch powers of treaty were to be wiflied, 
whilft fuccefs was very doubtful, how came they to be lefs 
fo, fince his majefty's arms have been crowned with many 
conliderable advantages ? Have thefe fuccefles induced us to 
alter our mind, as thinking the feafon of vi(5tory not the 
time for treating with honour or advantage? Whatever 
changes have happened in the national charadter, it can 
fcarcely be our wilh, that terms of accommodation never 
Ihould be propofed to our eneniy, except when they muft 
be attributed folely to our fears. It has happened, let me 
fay unfortunately, that we read of his majefty's commiflion 
for making peace, and his troops evacuating his laft town in 
the thirteen colonies at the fame hour, and in the fame 
gazette. It was ftill more unfortunate, that no commifliion 
went to America to fettle the troubles . there, until feveral 
months after an adt had been pafled to put the colonies out 
of the prote6lion of this government, and to divide their 
trading property without a poflibility of reftitutionj^ .33 fpoil 
among the feamen of the navy* The moft abjedt fijbmif- 
fion on the part of the colonies could not redeem them* 

There 



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SHERIFFS OF BRISTOL. 133 

There was no man on that whole continent, or within three 
thonfand miles of it, qualified by law to follow allegiance 
with protection, or fubmiffion with pardon. A proceeding 
of this kind has no example in hiftory. Independency, and 
independency with an enmity (which putting ourfelves out 
of the queftion would be called natural and much provoked) 
was the inevitable confequence* How this came to pafs, the 
nation may be one day in an humour to enquire. 

All the attempts made this feflion to give fuller powers 
of peace to the commanders in America, were ftifled by the 
fatal confidence of victory, and the wild hopes of uncondi- 
tional fubmiffion. There was a moment favourable to the 
king's arms, when if any powers of conceffion had exilled, 
on the other fide of the Atlantic, even after all our errorsj 
peace in all probability might have been reftored. But ca- 
lamity is unhappily the ufual feafon of refledlion ; arid the 
pride of men will not often fufFer reafon to have any fcope 
until it can be no longer df fervice. 

I have always wjftied, that as the difpute had its appa- 
rent origin from things done in parliament, and as the a6ts 
paffed there had provoked the war, that the foundations of 
peace fhould be laid in parliament alfo. I have been afto- 
nifhed to find, that thofe whofe zeal for the dignity of our 
body was fo hot, as to light up the flames of civil war, 
fhould even publickly declare, that thefe delicate points 
ought to be wholly left to the crown. Poorly as I may be 
thought affedtcd to the authority of parliament, 1 (hall never 
admit that our conftitutional rights can ever become a mat- 
ter of minifterial negociation. 

I am charged with being an American. If warm affec- 
tion, towards thofe over whom- 1 claim any lliare of autho-» 
rity, be a crime, I am guilty of this charge. But I do affure 
yqu (and they who know me publickly and privately, will 

bear 



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134 LETTER TO THE 

bear witnefs to me) that if ever one man lived, more zea- 
lous than another, for the fupremacy of parliament, and the 
rights of this imperial crown, it was myfelf . Many others 
indeed might be more knowing in the extent of the foun- 
dation of thefe rights. I do not pretend to be an antiquary^ 
a lawyer, or qualified for the chair of profeflbr in n^taphy- 
lics. I never ventured to put your folid interefts upon fpe- 
culative grounds. My having conftantly declined to do fo 
has been attributed to my incapacity for fuch difquifitions ; 
and I am inclined to believe it is partly the caufe. I never 
fliall be alhamed to confefs, that where 1 am ignorant I am 
diffident, I am indeed not very folicitous to clear myfelf of 
this imputed incapacity ; becaufe men, even lefs converfant 
than I am, in this kind of fubtleties, and placed in ftations, 
to which I ought not to afpire, have by the mere force of 
civil difcretion, often condudled the affairs of great nations 
with diftinguifhed felicity and glory. 

When I firft came into a public truft, I found your parlia- 
ment in pofleffion of an unlimited legiflative power over 
the colonies. I could not open the ftatut e-book, without 
feeing the adlual exercife of it, more or lefs, in all cafes what- 
foever. This pofleffion paffed with me for a title. It does 
fo in all human affiiirs. No man examines into the defeats 
of his title to his paternal eftate, or to his eftabliftied govern- 
ment. Indeed common fenfe taught me, that a legiflative 
authority, not adtually limited by the exprefs terms of its 
foundation, or by its own fubfequcnt adts, cannot have its 
powers parcelled out by argumentative diftindtions, fo as to 
enable us to fay, that here they can, and there they cannot 
bind. Nobody was fo obliging as to produce to me any re- 
cord of fuch diftindions, by compa<5t or otherwife, either at 
the fucceffive formation of the feveral colonies, or during 
the exiftence of any of them. If any gentlemen were able 

to- 



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^IH* 



SHERIFFS OF BRISTOL. 135 

to fee, how one power could be given up, (merely on ab- 
ftradl reafoning) without giving up the reft, I can only fay, 
that they faW further than I could ; nor did I ever prefume 
to condemn any one for being clear-fighted, when I was 
blind. I praife their penetration and learning; and hope 
that their pradlice has been correfpondent to their thedry. 

I had indeed very earneft wiflies to keep the whole body 
of this authority perfect and entire as 1 found it, and to keep 
it fo, not for our advantage folely ; but principally for the 
fake of thofe, on whofe account all juft authority exifts; I 
mean the people to be governed. For I thought I faw, that 
many cafes might well happen, in which the exercife of 
every power comprehended in the broadeft idea of legifla- 
ture, might become in its time and circumftances, not a lit- 
tle expedient for the peace and union of the colonies amongft 
themfelves, as well as for their perfe6t harmony with Great 
Britain. Thinking fo, (perhaps erroneoufly) but being ho- 
neftty of that opinion, I was at the fame time very fure, that 
the authority of which I was fo jealous, could not under the 
a<Stual circumftances of our plantations be at all preferved 
in any of its members, but by the greateft referve in its ap- 
plication ; particularly in thofe delicate points, in which the 
feelings of mankind are the moft irritable. They who 
thought otherwife, have found a few more difficulties in 
their work, than, (I hope) they were thoroughly aware of, 
when they undertook the prefent bulinefs. I muft beg 
leave to obferve, that it is not only the invidious branch of 
taxation that will be refifted, but that no other given part of 
legiflative rights, can be exercifed, without regard to the ge- 
neral opinion of thofe who are to be governed. That ge- 
neral opinion is the vehicle, and organ of legiflative omni- 
potence. Without this, it may be a theory to entertain the 
mind, but it is nothing in the direiSlioh of affairs. The 
§ compleatnefs 



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136 LETTER TO THE 

compleatnefs of the legiflative authority of parliament over 
this kingdom is not queftioned ; and yet many things indubi- 
tably included in the abftradt idea of that power, and which 
carry no abfolute ii^uftice in themfelves, yet being contrary 
to the opinions and feelings of the people, can as little be 
exercifed, as if parliament in that cafe had been poflefled of 
no right at all. I fee no abftra<5t reafon, which can be given, 
why the fame power which made and repealed the high 
commillion court and the ftar-chamber, might not revive 
them again ; and thefe courts, warned by their former fate, 
might poffibly exercife their powers with fome degree of 
juftice. But the madnefs would be as unqueftionable, as 
the competence, of that parliament, which fhould attempt 
fuch things. If any thing can be fuppofed out of the 
power of human legiflature it is religion ; I admit however 
that the eftabliflied religion of this country has been three 
or four times altered by a6t of parliament ;. and tlierefore 
that a ftatute binds even in that cafe. But we may very 
fafely affirm, that notwithftanding this apparent omnipo- 
tence, it would be now found as impoffible for king and 
parliament to alter the eftabliftied religion of this country, 
as it was to King James alone, when he attempted to make 
fuch an altera,tion without a parliamjent. In eflfe<5t, to fol- 
low, not to force the public inclination ; to give a direction, 
a form, a technical drefs and a fpecific fandlion, to the ge- 
neral fenfe of the community, is the true end of legifla- 
ture. 

It is fo with regard to the exercife of all the powers, 
which our conftitution knows in any of its parts, and indeed 
to the fubftantial exiftence of any of the parts themfelves. 
The king's negative tq bills is one of the moft indifputed of 
the royal prerogatives ; and it extends to all cafes whatfo- 
ever. I am far from certain, that if feveral laws, which I 

know, 



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SHERIFFS. OF BRISTOL. ~ 137 

-know, had fallen under the ftroke of that fceptre, that the 
public would have had a very heavy lofs. But it is not the 
propriety of the exercife which is in queftion. The exercife 
itfelf is wifely forebome. Its repofe may be the preferva- 
tion of its exiftence ; and its exiftence may be the means of 
faving the. conftitution itfelf, on an occafion worthy of 
bringing it forth. As the difputants, whofe accurate and 
logical reafonings have brought us into our prefent condi- 
tion, think it abfurd th-at powers, or members of any con- 
ftitution fliould exift, rarely or ever to be exercifed, I hope 
I ihall be excufed in mentioning another inftance, that is 
material. We know, that the convocation of the clergy had 
formerly been called, and fat with nearly as much regula- 
rity to bufinefs as parliament itfelf. It is now called for 
form only. It fits for the purpofe of making fome polite 
ecclefiaftical compliments to the king ; and when that grace 
is faid, retires and is heard of no more* It is however a part 
of the conjlitutioriy and may be called out into adt and energy, 
whenever there is occafion ; and whenever thofe, who con- 
jure up that fpirit, will choofe to abide the confequences. It 
is wife to permit its legal exiftence ; it is much wifer to con- 
tinue it a legal exiftence only. So truly has prudence, (con- 
ftituted as the god of this lower world) the entire dominion 
over every exercife of power, committed into its hands ; 
and yet I have lived to fee prudence and conformity to cir- 
cumftances, wholly fet at naught in our late controverfies, 
and treated as if they were the moft contemptible and irra- 
tional of all things. I have heard it an hundred times very 
gravely ailedged, that in order to keep power in wind, it 
was neceflary, by preference, to exert it in thofe very points 
in which it was moft likely to be refifted, and the leaft likely 
to be produdlive of any advantage. 
Thefe were the confiderations, gentlemen, which led me 
Vox.. II. T early 



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138 LETTER TO THE 

early to think> that in the comprehenfive dominion which 
the Divine Providence had put into our hands, inftead of 
troubling our underftandings with fpeculations concerning 
the unity of empire, and the identity or diftindlion of le- 
giflative powers, and inflaming our paflions with the heat 
and pride of controverfy, it was our duty, in all foberneft, 
to conform our government to the ch^ra^er and circum- 
ftanccs of the feveral people who compofed this mighty and 
ftrangely diverfified mafs* I never .was wild enough to con- 
ceive, that one method would ferve for the whole ; that the 
natives of Hindoftan and thofe of Virginia could be ordered 
in the fame manner ; or that the Cutchery court and the 
grand jury of Salem could be regulated on a iimilar plan. I 
was perfuaded, that government was a praftical thing, made 
for th« happinefs of mankind, and not to furniih out a fpec- 
tacle of imiformity, to gratify the fchemes of vifionary po- 
liticians^. Our bufinefi was to rule, not to wrangle; and it 
would have been a poor <:ompejifation that we had triumph-^ 
ed in a difpute, whilft we loft »r\ empire^ 

If there be one £a£t in thq world perfectly clear^ it is this; 
<* That the difpofition of the people of America i& wholly 
i.^ averfe to any other than a free government f and this i* 
indication enough to any honeft ffatefman^how he ought to 
adapt whatever power he finds in his hands to their cafe.. 
If any afk me what a free gevernment is, I aniAver, that, for 
any practical purpofe, it is what the people think fo ; and 
that they, and not I, are the natural, lawful,* and competent 
judges of this matterr If they pra<Stically allow me a greater 
degree of authority over them than is coniiftent with any 
corre(St ideas of perfedt freedom, I ought to thank them foF 
to great a truft, and not to endeavour to pj?ove from thence, 
that they have reafoned amifs, and that having gpne fo far, 
8 by 



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SHERIFFS OF BRISTOL.^ - .139 

"by analogy, they iWuft hereafter have no enjoyment but by 
my pleafure. 

If we had feen this doiie by afiy others, we (houW have 
concluded them far gone in' ftiddnefs. It is melancholy as 
well as ridiculous, to obferve the kind of reafoning with 
which the pubjick has been amufed, in order to divert our 
minds from the coiu'mon fenfe of our American policy. 
There are peoj^e, who have fjdit and anatomifed the do&» 
trine of free government, as if it were an abftra<5t queftion 
concerning metaphyfical liberty and neceflity; and not a 
matter of moral pntdenc^ and natural feeling. They have 
disputed, whether liberty he a pofitive or a negative idea ; 
whether it dots not cdnfitt in being governed by laws ; with- 
out confidering what are the laws or who are the makers ; 
whether man has any rights by nature ; and whether all 
the property he enjoys, be not the alms erf" his government, 
iuid his life itifelf their favour and indulgence. Others 
corrupting religion, as thelb have perverted philofophy> 
contend, that Chriftians are redeemed into captivity ; and 
the blood of the Saviour of mankind has been ihed to make 
them the flaves of a few proud and infolent linners. Thefe 
fhocking extremes, provoking to extremes of another kind ; 
fpeculations are let loofe as deftrudtive to all authority, as 
the former are. to all freedom; and every government is 
called tyranny and ufurpation which is not formed on their 
fancies. In this manner the ftirrers-up of this contention, 
not fatisfied with diftrafting our dependencies and filling 
them with blood and flaughter, they are corrupting our 
underftandings : they are endeavouring to tear up, along 
with practical liberty, all the foundations of human fociety, 
all equity and juilice, religion and order. 

Civil freedom, gentlemen, is not, as many have endea- 
vbured to perfuadeyou> athing that lies hid in the depth 

T 2 of 



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140 LETTER T O T H E 

of abftnife fcience. It is a bleffing and a benefit, not art 
abftradt fpeculation ; and all the juft reafoning that can be 
upon it, is of fo coarfe a texture^ as perfectly to fuit the 
ordinary capacities of thofe who are to enjoy, and of thofe 
who are to defend it. Far from any refemblanceto thofe 
propoiitions in geometry and metaphyfics, which admit no 
medium, but muft be true or falfe in all their latitude; 
focial and civil freedom, like all other things in common 
life, are vaiioully mixed and modified, enjoyed in very dif- 
ferent degrees, and fliaped into an infinite diverfity of forms, 
according to the temper and circumftances of every com- 
munity. The extreme of liberty (which is its abftradt per- 
fecStion, but its real fault) obtains no where,, nor ought to 
obtain any where* Becaufe extremes,, as we all know, in 
every point which relates either to our duties or fatiP 
.fadions in life, are deftru£live both tq virtue and enjoy- 
ment,^ Liberty t<x> nifuft be limited in order to.be poflefled. 
The degree of reftraint il; ip impoflible in any cafe to fettle 
precifely. But it ought tobe the conijtant aim of^ every wife 
public counfel, to find out by cautious experiments,, and 
rational, eool endeavours, with how little, not how piuch 
of this rellraint, the con\m^mity Can fvibfijl* . For liberty is 
a good to be improved, ani\ not.an jeyil to be.leflened* It is 
not only a private bleifing of the;firl1: 0Fder.,.but the vital 
fpring and energy o£ the ftate itfelf, which ha^Jult fo much 
life and vigour as- there is liberty in it. But whether. liberty 
be advantageous or noti (for I know it is a fafl:>ion to decry 
the very principle) nc^ne will difputq that peace is. a blef- 
iing ; and j>eace muft in the coivrfe. of Kuman affairs be 
frequently bought by fome indulgence andj . toleration .at 
leaft to liberty. For as- the. fabbath,. ^^though of divine in- 
llitution) was made for man, not ^^a^ for «the,fabbath, 
government, which can claim, no-. higher origin or au- 
thority. 



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SHERIFFS- OF BRISTOL. 141 

thority, in its exercife at leaft, ought to conform to the 
exigencies of the time, and the temper and charadter of the 
people, with whom it is concerned; and not always to 
attempt violently to bend the people to their theories of 
fubjec^lion. The bulk of, mankind on their part are not 
exceflively curious concerning any theories, whilft they are 
really happy ; and one fare fymptom of an ill-conda<5ted 
ftate, is the propenfity of the people to refort to them. 
. But when fubjedts, by a long cpurfe of fuch ill condudt, 
are once thoroughly inflamed,, and the ftate itfelf violently 
diftempered, the people mufl: have fome fatisfadtion to their 
feelings, more folid than a fophiftical fpeculation on law 
and government. Such wa« our fituation ; and fuch a fatif- 
fadlion was neceflary to prevent recourfe to arms ; it was* 
neceflary towards laying them down ;. it will be neceflary to 
prevent the taking them up again and again^ Of what 
Rature this fatisfadt ion ought to be, Lwifli it had been the 
difpofition of parliament ferioufly to confider. It was cer- 
tainly a deliberation that called for the exertion of all their- 
wifdbm.- 

I am, and ever have feeen deeply fenfible, of the difficulty 
ef reconciling the ftrong prefiding power, that is fo ufeful 
towards the confervation of avaft, difconnedted, infinitely 
diverfified empire, with that liberty and. fafety of the pro^f 
vinces,. which they mufl: enjoy, (in opinion and pradtice at 
leaft) I or they will not be provinces at alL I kno\y,. and 
have long felt, the difficulty of reconciling the unwieldy 
haughtinefs of a great ruling nation, habituated to com- 
mand, parapeted by enorrnous wealth, aod confident from^ 
a long courfe of profperity. and vidtory, to the high fpirit of 
free dependencies, animated with the firft glow, and adlivity 
of juvenile heat, and afluming to themfdves as their birth- 
right, fome part of that^ivery pride, which opprefles them.. 

They 



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I4ri LETTER TO THE 

They who perceive no difficulty in reconciling thefe tem- 
pers, (whith however to make peace nmft fome way or 
other be reconciled) are much above my cai>acity, or much 
below the magnitude of the bufinefs. Of one thing I am 
j>erfe<511y clear, that it is not by deciding the fuit, but by 
compromifing the difference, that peace can be reftored or 
kept. They who would put an end to fuch quarrels, by- 
declaring roundly in favour of the wh)ole demands of either 
party, have miftaken, in my humble opinion, the office 
of a mediator. 

The war is now of full two years (landing; the contro- 
verfy of many more. In different periotls of the difpute^ 
different methotls of reconciliation were to be purfued, I 
mean to trouble you with a fhort ftate of things at the moft 
important of thefe periods, in order to give you a more 
diftin<5l idea of our policy with regard to this moft delicate 
of all objects. The colonies were from the beginning lub- 
jeft to thelegillature of Gt^sit Britain, on principles which 
they never examined; and we permitted to them many 
local privileges^ without aiking hpw they agreed with that 
}egi<flatiye authority. Modes of adttiiniib^atioa were formed in 
an infenfible and very onfyftematick manner. But they gra- 
dually adapted themfelves to the varying condition of things. 
.—What was flrft a fingle kingdom f^retched into an em- 
pire; 9nd an imperial fuperii^tendency of fome kind or 
other beotme neceffary. Parliament from a mere repre- 
ienta^ve of the people, and a guardian o( popular privi- 
leges for its own immediate coinftituents, grew into a 
mighty fovereign. Inftead of being a control on the crown 
an iu own behalf, it communicated a fort of ftrength to the 
royal authority ; which was wanted for the confervation of 
j^new ob|e<5k) bat which could not be fafely trufted to the 
4:rown^ne^ On the other hand, the colonies adtancing 

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SHERIFFS OF BRISTOL. 143 

by equal fteps, and governed by the fame neceiflity, had 
formed within themfelves, either by royal inftru(Slion, or 
royal charter, aflemblies fo exceedingly refembling a parlia- 
ment, in all their forms, fundtious, and poNvers, that it was 
impoflible they fhpuld not imbibe fome opinion of a (imilar 
authority. ' 

At the firft defignation of thefe affemblies, they wiere 
probably not intended for any thing more, (nor perhaps 
did they think themfelves much higher) than the municir 
pal corporaUons withih this illand, to which fome at prefent 
love to compare them. But nothing in progreflion can reft 
on its original plan. We may as well think of rocking a 
grown man in the cradle of an infant. Therefore as the 
colonies profpered and increafed to a numerous and mighty 
people, fpreading over a very great tnwSt of the globe ; it was 
natural that they ihpulcl attribute to affemblies, fo refpe(^a- 
ble in their formal conilitution, fome part of t|ie dignity of 
the great nations which they reprefented. No longer tied 
to by-laws, thef? affemblies made afts of all forts and in 
all cafes whatfoever. They levied money, not for parochial 
purpofes, but upon regular grants to the crown, following 
all the rules and principles of a parliament, to which the^? 
approached every day niore and more neariy. Thofe whp 
think themfelves wifer than Proyidepce ^nd ftrqng^r than 
the courfe of nature, may complain of all this variation, 00, 
the one fide or the otheri as their feveral humours and 
ppejudices ni^y lead them. But things <;au^id. not be otber- 
yfiCp ; and Englifli (jolonij?s muft be had on thefe terms, or 
not had at all. In the mean time neither party felt any 
snconvenieoce from this doub}^ legiila^urej to which they 
had been formed] by iipperceptible habits, apd d\d cufr 
tomt the great fuppoiit pf ^11 the gpyeji^paienits in the 
world. Though ti^efc two leg^Iktpxe? weri? fopietime? 

found 



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144. LETTER TO THE 

found perhaps performing the very fame fundlions, they did 
not very grofsly or fyftematically clalli. In all likelihood this 
arofe from mere neglect ; poffibly from the natural opera- 
tion of things, which left to themfelves, generally fall inta 
their proper order. Put whatever was the caufe, it is cer- 
tain, that a regular revenue by the. authority of parliament 
for the fupport of civil and military eftablifhments, feems 
not to have been thought of until the colonies were too 
proud to fubmit, too ftrong to be forced, too enlightened 
not to fee all the confequences which muft arife from fuch a 
fvftem. 

If ever this fcheme of taxation was to be pufhed againft 
the inclinations of the people, it was evident, that difcuflions 
mull arife, which would let loofe all the elements that com- 
pofed this double conftitution ; would ftiew how much each 
of their members had departed from its original principles ; 
and would difcover contradidlions in each legiflature, as 
well to its own firft principles, as to its relation to the other, 
very difficult if not abfolutely impoflible to be reconciled. 

Therefore at the firft fatal opening of this conteft, the 
wifeft courfe feemed to be to put an end as foon as poffible 
to the immediate caufes of the difpute; and to quiet a dif- 
cuffion, not eafiiy fettled upon clear principles, and arifing 
from claims, which pride would permit neither party to 
abandon, by reforting as nearly as poffible, to the old fuc- 
cefsful courfe. A mere repeal of the obnoxious tax, with 
a declaration of the legiflative aluthority of this kingdom-, 
was then fully fufficient to procure peace to bothjides. Man 
is a creature of habit, a'hd the firft breach, being of very 
Ihort continuance, the colonies fell back exacStly into their 
antient ftate. The congrefs has ufed an expreffion with re- 
gard to this pacification which appears to me truly fignifi- 
cant. After the repeal of the Stamp Aift, <^ the colonies 

« fell,'' 



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SHERIFFS OF BRISTOL. 145 

^^ felV* fays this aflembly, " into their antient ftate of un-^ 
<^ fufpeSiing confidence in the mother country T This unfuf- 
pe6ting confidence is the true center of gravity amongft 
mankind, about which all the parts are at reft. It is this 
unfuJpeBing confidence that removes all difficulties, and re- 
conciles all the contradictions which occur in the complexity 
of all antient puzzled political eftabliQiments. Happy are 
the rulers which have the fecret of preferving it ! 

The whole empire has reafon to remember with eternal 
gratitude, the wifdom and temper of that man and his ex- 
cellent affociates, who, to recover this confidence, formed a 
plan of pacification in 1766. That plan, being built upon 
th€ nature of man, and the circumftances and habits of the 
two countries, and not on any vifionary fpeculations, per- 
fectly anfwered its end, as long as it was thought proper to 
adhere to it^ Without giving a rude fhock to the dignity 
(well or ill underftood) of this parliament, they gave perfedl 
content to our dependencies. Had it not been for the me- 
diatorial fpirit and talents of that great man, between fuch 
clafhing pretenfions and paflSlons, we fliould then have 
ruftied headlong (I know what I fay) into the calamities of 
that civil war, in which, by departing from his fyftem we 
are at length involved ; and we fliould have been precipi- 
tated into that war, at a time, when circumftances both at 
home and abroad were far, very far, more unfavourable 
unto us than they were at the breaking .out of the prefent 
troubles. 

1 had the happinefs of giving my firft votes in parliament 
for that pacification. I was one of thofe almoft unanimous- 
members, who, in the neceffary conceffions of parliament, 
would as much as poffible have preferved its authority, and 
tefpecfted its honour. I could not at once, tear from my 
heart prejudices which were dear to me, and Avhich bore a 

Vx)L. 11. U refemblance 



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146 LETTER TO THE 

refemblance to virtue, I had then^ and I have ftill niy par^ 
tialities. What parliament gave up I wifhed to be given as 
of grace, and favour and affection, and not as a teftitution of 
ftolen goods* High dignity relented as it was foothed ; and 
a benignity from old acknovrledged greatnefs had its full 
efFedt on our dependencies. Our unlimited declaration of 
legiflative authority produced not a fingle murmur. If this 
undefined power has become odious lince that time, and 
full of horror to the colonies, it is becaufe the unfufpicious 
confidence is loft, and the parental affedtion, in the bofom of 
whofe boundlefs authority they repofed their privileges, is 
become eftranged and hoftile. 

^It will be alked, if fuch was then my opinion of the mode 
of pacification, how I came to be the very perfon who 
moved, not only for a repeal of all the late coercive fl:atutes> 
but for mutilating by a pofitive law, the entirenefs of the 
legiflative power of parliament, and cutting off from it the 
whole right of taxation ? I anfwer, becaufe a different ftate 
of things requires a different condudt. When the difprute 
had gone to thefe laft extremities (which no man laboured 
iliore to prevent than I did ;) the conceflions which had fa- 
tisfied in the beginning, could fatisfy no longer; becaufe 
the violation of tacit faith required explicit fecurity. The 
fame caiife, which has introduced all formal compacts and 
covenants among men made it neceffary. I mean habits of 
forenefs, jealoufy, and diftruft. I parted with it, as with a 
limb ; but as a limb to fave the body ; and I would have 
parted with more, if more had been neceffary ; any thihg 
rather than a fruitlefs, hopelefs, unnatural civil war. Thia 
mode of yielding would, it is faid, give way to independent 
cy, without a war. I am perfuaded from the nature of 
things, and from every information, that it would hare had 
a diredly contrary efie6l. But if it had this effect, I confels^ 

that 



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SHERIFFS OF BRISTOL. 147 

tliat I fliGuld prefer independency without war, to indej>eni- 
dency with it; and I havie fo much truft in the inclinations and 
prejudices of mankind, and fo little in any thing elfe, that I 
fliould expe6l ten times more benefit to this kingdom fron^ 
the afFe<ftion of America, though under a feparate eftablifli- 
ment, than from her perfect fubmiflion to the crown and 
parliament, accompanied with her terror, difguft, and ab- 
horrence. Bodies tied together by fo unnatural a bond of 
union, as mutual hatred, are only connected to their ruin. 

One hundred a^d ten refpe£taible members of parliament 
voted for that conceflion. Many not prefent, when the 
motion was made, were of the fentiments of thofe who 
voted. I knew it would then have made peace, i am not 
without hopes that it would do fo at prefent if it were , 
adopted. No benefit, no revenue could be loft by it ; fom.e- 
tiling might poffibly he gained by its coafequences. For 
be fuUy affured, that, of all the phantoms that ever ideliided 
*he fond hopes of a credulous world, a pariiamentary rcr 
venue in the colonies is the moft perfe^SHy chimerical. Yoxur 
breaking them to any fubjedtion, far from relieving your 
burthens, (the pretext for this war,) will never pay that mi- 
litary force which \vill be kept up to the deftrucStipn of their 
liberties and yours. I rifque nothing in this prophecy. 

Gentlemen, you have my opinion on the prefent ftate of 
public affairs. Mean as they may be in th^mfelves, your 
partiality has made them of fome importance. Without 
troubling myfelf to /enquire whether I bxxi under a formal 
obligation to it, I have a pleafure in accounting for my con-? 
duft to my conftituents* I feel warmly on this fubje6t, and 
I expreft myfelf as I fed. If I pre((ume to blame any public 
proceeding, I cannot be fuppofed t^ be pedbnal. Wauld to 
God I could be fufpe<5ted of it^ My fault might be greater* 
but the public calamity would be le<^ extenfive* If my 

U a conduA 



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148 LETTER TO THE 

condudl has not been able to make any impreflion on the 
warm part of that antient and powerful party, with whofe 
fupport, I was not honoured at my eledlion ; on my fide, 
my refpe<a, regard, and duty to them is not at all leflened. 
I owe the gentlemen who compofe it my moft humble fer- 
vice in every thing. I hope that whenever any of them 
were pleafed to command me, that they found me perfectly 
equal in my obedience. But flattery and friendfliip are very 
different things; and to miflead is not to ferve them. I 
cannot purchafe the favour of any man by concealing from 
him what I think his ruin. By the favour of my fellow- 
citizens, I am the reprefentative of an honeft, well-ordered, 
virtuous city ; of a people, who preferve more of the original 
Englifti fimplicity, and purity of manners, than perhaps any 
other. You poflefs among you feveral men and magiftrates 
of large and cultivated underftandings ; fit for any employ- 
ment in any fphere* I do, to the befl: of my power, z£t fo 
as to make myfelf worthy of fo honourable a choice. If I 
were ready, on any call of my own vanity or interefl:, or to 
anfwer any election purpofe, to forfake principles, (what- 
ever they are) which I had formed at a mature age, on full 
reflecStion, and which have been confirmed by long expe- 
rience, I Ihould forfeit the only thing which makes you 
pardon fo many errors and imperfedtions in me. Not that 
I think it fit for any one to rely too much on his own un- 
derftanding; or to be filled with a prefumption, not be- 
coming a chriftian man, in his own perfonal fliability and 
rectitude. 

I hope I am far from that vain confidence, which almoft 
always fails in trial. I know my weaknefs in all refpecSts, 
as much at leaft as any enemy I have; and I attempt to take 
fecurity againft it. The only method which has ever been 
found eflfedlual to preferve any man againft the corruption 

of 



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SHERIFFS O If BRISTOL. 149 

• of nature and example, is an habit of life and communica- 
tion of councils with the mod virtuous and pubHc-fpirited 
men of the age you live in. Such a fociety cannot be kept 
without advantage, or deferted without Ihame. For this 
rule of condudl I may be called in reproach a party man ; 
but I am little affedled with fuch af[:erfions. In the way 
w^hich they call party, I worfliip the conftitution of your 
fathers; and I fhall never blufli for my political company. 
All reverence to honour, all idea of what it is, will be loft 
out of the world, before it can be imputed as a fault to any 
man, that he has been clofely connedled with thofe incom- • 
parable perfons, living and dead, with whom for eleven 
years I have conftantly thought and adted. If I have wan- 
dered out of the paths of recStitude, into thofe of interefted 
fadtion, it was in company with the Saviles, the Dowdef- 
wells, the Wentworths, the Bentincks ; with the Lenoxes, 
the Manchefters, the Keppels, the Saunders's ; with the tem- 
perate, permanent, hereditary virtue of the whole houfe of 
Cavendifh ; names, among which, fome have extended your 
fame and empire in arms, and all have fought the battle of 
your liberties in fields not lefs glorious. — Thefe and many 
more like thefe, grafting pubhc principles on private ho- 
nour, have redeemed the prefent age, and would have 
adorned the moft fplendid period in your hiftory. Where 
could any man, confcious of his own inability to adt alone, 
and willing to adt as he ought to dO) have arranged himfelf 
better ? If any one thinks this kind of fociety to be taken* 
up as the beft method of gratifying low perfonal pride, or 
ambitious intereft, he is miftaken; and knows nothing- of ' 
the world. 

Preferring this connexion; I do not mean to detradt in^ 
the flighteft degree from others. There are fome of thofe, 
whom I admire at fomething of a greater diftanee, with' 

whom 



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150 LETTER TO THE 

whom I have had the happinefs alfo perfedly to agree, in al- 
moft all the particulars, in which I have differed with feme 
fucceflive adminiftratioiis; and they are fuch, as it never can 
be reputable to any gov^ernment to reckon among its ene- 
mies. I hope there are none of you, corrupted with the 
dodlrine taught by wicked men for the worft purpofcs, and 
received by the malignant credulity of envy and ignorance, 
which is, that the men who a6t upon the public ftage are all 
alike ; all equally corrupt ; all influenced by no other views 
than the fordid lure of falary and penlion. The thing, I kjiow 
by experience to be falfe. Never exj^edting to find perfection 
in men, and not looking for divine attributes in created bip^ 
ings, in my commerce with my cotemporaiics^ I hav^ found 
much human virtue* I have feen not a little public fpirit ; 
a real fubordination of intereft to duty ; and a decent and 
regulated fenfibility to honeft fame aud reputation. The j 

age unqueftionably produces, (wluether in a greater or lefs 
number than former times, I know not) daring profligates, 
and inlldious hypocrites. What thjen? Am I not to avail 
myfelf of whatever good is to be found in the world, be- 
caufe of the mixture of evil tiiat will always be in it ? The 
fmallnefs of th^ quantity in currency only hjeight^ns the 
value. They, who raife fufpicions on the good on account 
of the behaviour of ill men, are of the party of the lat^tef^ 
The common cant is no juftification for taking this party, 
1 have been d^eiv^d, fay they, by Tiiius and Mavius ; I 
have been the dupe of this pretend^er or of that nvpunte*^ 
bank ; and I can tr-uft appearainces »o longen Boat my crie^ 
dulity aad want of difcernmeat qannot, as I OQaceiv^i 
amount to a fair prefumption againft any man's intfjgrity* 
A confctientious perfon woukl rather 4oubit Jiis own j^*4g- 
ijaent, than condemn his fpccie^. He would fay, I |>ay^ 
obferved without attention, or judged «i>on «rr<waQoiiis max- 

7 ims ; 



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SHERIFFS OF BRISTOL- 151 

itn$ ; 1 trufted to profeflion, when I ought to have attended 
to cohducSt. Such a man will grow wife, not malignant^ by 
his acquaintance with the world. But he that accufes all 
mankind of corruption ought to remember that he is 
fure to convidl only one. In truth I fhould much rather 
admit thofe whom at any time 1 have difreliflied the moft, 
to be patterns of perfe6lion, than feek a confolation to my 
own unworthinefs, in a general communion of depravity 
with all about me. 

That this ill-natured doctrine Ihoidd be preached by the 
miflionaries of a court I do not wonder. It anfwers their 
purpofe. But that it Ihould be heard among thofe who 
pretend to be ftrong alTertors of liberty, is not only fur- 
prifing, but hardly natural. This moral levelling is 2ifervile 
principk. It leads to practical paffive obedience far better, 
than all the dodtrines^ which> the pliant accommodation of 
theology to power, has ever produced; It cuts up by the 
roots, not only afl idea of forcible refiftance, but even of 
civil oppolition. It difpofes men to an abjeft fubmiffion, 
not by opinion, which may be fhaken by argument or al- 
tered by paflion, but by the ftrong ties of public and pri- 
vate intereft. For if all men who a(St in a public fituation 
are equally felfilh, corrupt, and venal, what reafon can be 
given for defiring any fort of change, which befides the 
evils which muft attend all changes, can be produ6tive of 
no poffible advantage ? The adlive men in the ftate are true 
famples of the mafs. If they are univerfally depraved, . the 
commonwealth itfelf is not found. We may amufe our- 
felves with talking as much as we pleafe of the virtue of 
middle or humble life ; tliat is, we may place our confi- 
dence in the virtue of thofe who have never been tried. 
But if the perfons who are continually emerging out of that 
fphere, be no better than thofe whom birth has placed 

above 



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152 LETTER TO THE 

above it, what hopes are there in the remainder of the 
body, which is to furnifli the perpetual fucceflion of the 
ftate ? All who have ever written on government, are una- 
nimous, that among a people generally corrupt, liberty' 
cannot long exift. And indeed how is it poflible ? when 
thofe who are to make the laws, to guard, to enforce, or to 
obey them, are by a tacit confederacy of manners, indif- 
pofed to the fpirit of all generous and noble inftitutions. 

I am aware that the age is not what we all wifh. But I 
am fure, that the only means of checking its precipitate 
degeneracy, is heartily to concur with whatever is the beft 
in our time ; and to have fome more correal ftandard of 
judging what that beft is, than the tranfient and uncertain 
favour of a court- If once we are able to find, and can 
prevail on ourfelves to ftrengthen an union of fuch men, 
whatever accidentally becomes indifpofed to ill exercifed 
power, even by the ordinary operation of human paffions, 
muft join wdth that fociety, and cannot long be joined, with- 
out in fomc degree aflimilating to it. Virtue will catch 
as well as vice by conta6l ; and the public ftock of honeft 
manly principle will daily accumulate. We are not too 
nicely to fcrutinize motives as long as adlion is irreproach- 
able. It is enough, (and for a worthy man perhaps 
too much) to deal out its infamy to convidted guilt and 
declared apoftacy. 

This, gentlemen, has been from the beginning the rule 
of my condu(ft ; and I mean to continue it, as long as fuch 
a body as I have defcribed, can by any poffibility be kept 
-together ; for I fhould think it the moft dreadful of all 
offences, not only towards the prefent generation but to all 
the future, if I were to do any thing which could make the 
minuteft breach in this great confervatory of free principles. 
Thofe. who perhaps have the fame intentions, but are fepa- 

rated 



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SHERIFFS OF BRISTOL. 153 

rated by fome little political animofities, will I hope difcern 
at laft, how little conducive it is to any rational purpofe, ta 
lower its reputation. For my part, gentlemen, from much 
experience, from no little thinking, and from comparing a 
great variety of things, I am thoroughly perfuaded, that 
the laft hopes of preferving the fpirit of the Englilh confti- 
tution, or of re-uniting the diflipated members of the Eng- 
lilh race upon a common plan pf tranquillity and liberty, 
does entirely depend on their firm and lafting union ; and 
above all on their keeping themfelves from that defpair, 
which is fo very apt to fall on thofe, whom a violence of 
charadter and a mixture of ambitious views, do not fupport 
through a long, painful and unfuccefsful flruggle. 

There never, gentlemen, was a period in which the lied- 
faftnefs of fome men has been put to fo fore a trial. It is 
not very difficult for well-formed minds to abandon their 
intereft ; but the feparation of fame and virtue is an harfli 
divorce. Liberty is in danger of being made unpopular to 
Engliflimen, Contending for an imaginary power we be- 
giq to acquire the fpirit of domination and to lofe the relilh 
of honeft equality. The principles of our forefathers be- 
come fufpeiSled to us, becaufe we fee them animating the 
prefent oppofition of our children. The faults which grow 
out of the luxuriance of freedom, appear much more 
fliocking to us, than the bafe vices which are generated 
from the ranknefs of fervitude. Accordingly the leaft re- 
fiftance to power appears more inexcufable in our eyes than 
the greateft abufes. of authority. All dread of a Handing 
military force is looked upon as a fuperttitious panick. All 
fhame of calling in foreigners and favages in a civil contclt 
is worn off. We grow indifferent to the confequences inc- . 
vitable to ourfelves from the plan of ruling half the empire 
by a mercenary fvvord. We are taught to believe that a 

Vol. II. X dellre 



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154 LETTER TO THE 

defire of domineering over our countrymen is love to- 
our country ; that thofe who hate civil war abet rebellion, 
and that the amiable and conciliatory virtues of lenity, mo- 
deration, and tendernefs to the privileges of thofe who 
depend on this kingdom are a fort of treafon to the 
ftate. 

It is impoffible that we ftiould remain long in a fituation, 
which breeds fuch notions and difpofition&y without fome 
great alteration in the national chara^r. Tliofe ingenuous 
and feeling minds who are fi> fortified againft aH other 
things, and fo unarmed to whatever approaches in the 
iliape of difgrace, finding thefe princifrfes, which they 
confidered as fure mean« of honour to be grown into dif^ 
repute, will retire dilheartened and di%ufl:ed. Thofe of a 
more robuft make, the bold, able, ambitious men,, who pay 
fome of their court to power through the people, and lub- 
ftitute the voice of tranfient opinion in the [dace of true 
glory, will give into the general mode ; and thofe fuperior 
underftandings which ought to correfk vulgar prejudice,, 
will confirm and aggravate its errors. Many things have- 
been long operating towards a gradual change in our prin- 
ciple^. But this American war has done more in a very few 
years than all the other caufes could have effeiStejji in a cen— . 
tury. It is therefore not on its own feparate account, but 
becaufe of its attendant circumftances that I confider its 
continuanee, or its ending in any way but that of an ho- 
nourable and liberal accommodation, as the grcateft evils 
which can befal us. For that reafon I have troubled you 
with this long letter. For that reafon I entreat you again 
and again, neither to be perfuaded, (hamed, or frighted 
put of the principles that have hitherto led fo many of you 
to abhor the war, its caufe, and its confequences. Let us 

9 . not 



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SHERIFFS OF BRISTOL. 155 

not be amongft the firft who renounce the maxims of our 
forefathers. 

I have the honour to be, 
Gentlemen, 

Your moft obedient, 

And faithful humble fervant, 



^eaconsfield. EDMUND BURKE. 

April 3, 1777. 



P.S. You may communicate this letter in any manner 
you thiak proper to my conftituents. 



Xi TWO 



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TWO LETTERS 

FROM 

M R. B U R K E 

T O 

G E N T L E M E N 

IN THE 

CITY. OF BRISTOL, 

ON T H > 

BILLS DEPENDING IN PARLIAMENT 

HILATIVS TO THB 

TRADE OF I R E L A N Di 

1778. 



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( 159 ) 



T O 



SAMUEL SPAN, Esq, 

MASTIR OF THE SOCIETY OF MERCHANTS ADVENTURERS 

OF BRISTOL. 

S I R, 

I AM honoured with your letter of the 13th, in anfwer to 
mine, which accompanied the refolutions of the houfe 
relative to the trade of Ireland. 

You will be fo good as to prefcnt my beft refpe<^s to the 
fbciety, and to afiur^ them, that is was altogether unnecef" 
fary to remind me of the intereft of the conftituents. I 
have never regarded any thii^ elfe, lince I had a feat in 
parliament. Having frequently and maturely conlidered 
that intereft, and ftated it to myfelf in almoft every point of 
view, I am perfuaded, that, under the prefent circumftanceS) 
1 cannot more effedtually purfue it, than by giving all the 
fupport in my power to the propofitions which I lately trans- 
mitted to the hall. 

The fault I find in the fcheme is, — that it falls extremely 
ihort of that liberality in the commercial fyftem, which, I 
truft, win one day be adopted. If I had not confidered the 
prefent refolutions, merely as preparatory to better things, 
and as a means of Ihewing experimentally, that juftice to 
others is not always folly to ourfelves, 1 fhould have con- 
tented myfelf with receiving them in a cold and lilent ac- 
quiefcence. Separately confidered, they are matters of no 
very great importance. But they aim, however imperfedly, 

at. 



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i6o TWO LETTERS TO 

at a right principle. I fubmit to the reftraint to appeafc 
prejudice : I accept the enlargement, fo far as it goes, as the 
refult of reafon and of found policy. 

We cannot be infenfible of the calamities which have 
been brought upon this nation by an obftinate adherence to 
narrow and reftridtive plans of government. I confefs, I 
cannot prevail on myfelf to take them up, precifely at a 
time, when the moft decifive experience has taught the reft 
of the world to lay them down. The propofitions in quef- 
tion did not originate from me, or from my particular 
friends. But when things are fo right in themfelves, I hold 
it my duty, not to enquire from what Hands they come. I 
Qppoftd the American meafures upon the very fame prin- 
ciple on which I fupport thofe that relate to Ireland.. I^vas 
convinced, that the evils which have arifen from the adop- 
tion of the former, would be infinitely aggravated by the 
rejection of the latter. ; 

Perhaps gentlemen are not yet fully aware of the iimation 
of their country, and what its exigencies abfolutely require. 
1 find that we ai'e ftill difpofed to talk at our eafe, and as if 
all things were to be regulated by our good pleafure. I 
fliould confider it as a fatal fymptom^ if, in our prefent 
diftrefled and adverfe circumfl:ances, we fhould perfiil in 
the errors which are natural only to profperity. One can- 
not indeed fufficiently lament the continuance of that fpirit 
of delufion, by which, for a long time paft, we have 
thought fit to meafure our neceflities by our inclinations. 
Moderation, prudence, and equity, are far more fuitable to 
our condition, than loftinefs, and confidence, and rigour.. 
We are threatened by enemies of no fmall magnitude, 
whom, if we think fit, we may defpife, as we have defpifed 
others ; but they are enemies who can only ceafe to be 
truly formidable, by our entertaining a due refpe<5t for their 

power. 



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GENTLEMEN IN BRI S T O L. i6i 

power. Our danger will not be leflened by our (hutting 
our eyes to it ; nor will our force abroad be encreafed by 
rendering ourfelves feeble^ and divided at home. 

There is a dreadful fchifm in the Britifli nation. Since 
we are oot able to reunite the empire, it is our bufinefs to 
give all poflible vigour and foundnefs to thofe parts of it 
which are itill content to be governed by our councils. Sir, 
it is proper to inform you, that our meafures mt^ be beaU 
ing,^ Such a degree of ftrength muft be communicated to 
aU the members of the Hate, as may enable them to defend 
themielyes, and to co-operate in the defence of the whole. 
Their temp^ too muft be managed, and their good alfec* 
tions cultivated. They may then be dirpofed to bear the 
load with chearfulnefs, as a contribution towards what may 
be c^ed with truth and propriety, and not by an empty 
form of words, a common caufe. Too little dependence 
cannot be had, at this time of day, onnanies and prejur 
dipes* The eyes of mankind are opened ; and communities 
muft be held together by an evident and {olid intereft. God 
forbid, that our conduct Ihould demonftrate to the world, 
that Great Britain can, in no inftance whatfoever, be 
brought to a fenfe of rational and equitable policy, but by 
coercion and force of arms ! 

I.wifli you to recoiled, with what powers of conceflion, 
relatively to commerce, as well as to legiflation, his ma- 
jefty*s commiifioners to the united colonies have failed from 
England within this week. Whether thefe powers are fuf- 
ficient for their purpofes, it is not now my buiinefs to 
examine. But we all know, that pur refolutions in favour of 
Ireland are trifling and ini^nificant, when compared with the 
concefiions to the Americans. At fuch a juncture, I would 
implore every man> who retains the leaft ipark of regard to 

Vol. II. Y . the 



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i6a 'TWO LETTERS TO 

the yet remaining honourahd -fecttrity of this country, not 
tp compel others to an jmitatio« of their conduft ; or by 
paflion and violence, to force them to fe<Jk'in the territorie*- 
of the reparation,. that freedont, ahdthofe advantages, which 
they are not to loofc for 1;ehi3ft they remain iirider the wingi 
of their antient government. 

After all, what are the matters we difpnte with fb much 
warmth ? Do we in thefe refolutions dejfow any thing upon 
Ireland ? Not a IhiJling. We only confent to ieave to them* 
in two or three inftancesr the ufe of the natural faculties 
which God has given to them, and to all mankind. Is Ire- 
land united to the crown of Great Britain for no other 
purpole, than that we ihould counteraft the bounty of Pro- 
vidence in her favour ? And in proportion as that bounty 
has been liberal, that we are to regard it as an evil, which 
is to be met with in every fort of corrective ? To fay that 
Ireland interferes > with us, and therefore m<uft be checked^ 
is, in my opinion^ a very miftaken, and a very, dangerousr 
principle. I muft beg leave to repeat, what I took the liberty 
of fuggefting to you in my laft fctter, that Ireland is a coun- 
try, in the i^me dimate,^^ and of the fame natural qualities 
and prodoClioos, with this ;. and hasconfequently no other 
means of growing wealthy in herfelf, or, in other words, 
ef being ufeful to us, but by doing th^ very, fame things 
which we do, for the fame purpofes. I hope that in Great 
Britain we Ihall always purfue, without exception, every 
means of profperity ; and of courfe, that Ireland wiff inter- 
fere with us in fomething or other ; for either, in order fa 
/imit her ; we mu^ refirain ourfelves, or we muft fall into 
that (hocking conciulion, that we are to keep our yet remain- 
ing depemlency, under a general and indiferiminate reftraim, 
for the mere purpole of oppreflion. Indeed', Sir, England 

8 and 



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GENTLEMEN IN BRISTQL. 1^3, 

and Ifldand may fiouriih toother. The world is large. 
end«gh for us<1>otb# ^Let it^be ouroare, not to make our- 
felvcs too little for it. 

I know it is faidy that the pec^le of Ireland do not pay; 
the £ime tsaiesj and therefore pughf not in equity to enjoy 
the fame benefits with this. I had hopes, that the unhappy^ 
phantom of a qimpidibry ttjufoi taxation had haunted us 
long enough.. I do affi»e'yeu» thai until it is entirely, 
b^iiihed from aav imaginationsiy (where alone it has» or 
can have anyexiftence,) we fhaU never ceafe to do ourfelves 
the moft iuiwftahtial injuviea^ To ;thaiC argument of equal 
taxatioD^I can qnl^^^-^that irelaod pay^ i^ many taxes, as. 
thaft,'vdib>^irfr thtt-b^ft jtid|B;«as of bee powersj are ^f opinion 
ihe caq bear. To bear nroref Ihe tavA have more ab^ity ; 
aitid in. the .order of natuns, the advantage mtift precedg the 
charge, ^bisdtipdlliion.'of things^ ; being. thiekw: of God, 
]iMtheif)you< nbt: Lnarif abec it. So thqH If.yeur will havf 
maun help, ftam Ireland^ you muft previcfibjly- Aapf^y her- 
'4ddi ittbre means. 9 beUeve* it will be found* that if men 
are 'fttfiered &eely to cultivate their natural advantages, a; 
¥iirtUiEd'isqt|aUtyof continbtitibn will come m its own time,- 
apcT Teitt'%w by an eafy dbibent, through its own proper 
and natural channels. An attempt to difturb that coui;fe«) 
aaditortfbrce nature, will only bring dn univeri&l difcontettt, 
diArefs. and: confiiiion . 

Koq tcil fme, Siiv that you p]?eftar' an union with Ireland 
tD^lDe iitdeitegulationis whidi.are ptopofed in parliament:. 
ThiJ& unioD is a giseat queflion of ftat^* :to whicli, when iSu 
comes properly before me in m.y pailiamentary capacity,** 
1- ihedl give an honelt and unprejudiced conlideration. How-j- 
ever, it is a fdttlfed ilile with me, to make thie ntoft of myj 
aHuaiJituatkn ; and not to refufc td dd a proper thing, be-f 
caide; there. is (bmothingelfe moafc ^perj which- 1 .a^Pk nptj 

Y 2 ' * able 



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i64 TWO LETTERS. TO 

able to do. This union is a buHnefs of difficulty ; and on 
the principles of your letter, a bufinefs impra^icable. Un- 
til it can be matured into a feafible and definlbfe icheme, 
I wifh to have as clofe an union df int^reft and afifed^ion 
with Ireland, as I can have ; and that, I am fare, is a far 
J)etter thing than any nominal union' of government* 

France, and indeed moft cxtenfive empires, which by 
various defigns and fortunes have grown into one great 
mafs, contain many provinces that are very different front 
each other in privileges and modes of government; and 
they raife their fupplies in different ways? in difierentr pi!ci-» 
portions; and under different authoittiesi yet none of* 
them are for this reafon, curtaUed' of their natural rights ; 
but' they carry on trade and manufadliares with perfect 
ec|^ality. In fome way or other the true balance i» found; 
and all of them are properiy ^ifedranrf hartoonifed, . How. 
much have you loft by the paitldpation bf Scotland in all 
your commerce ? The external trade cH England' hxi moon&i 
than doubled iince that period y and I believe your internal 
(which is the moff advantageous) has been augmented at. 
ieaft fourfold. Such virtue there is in. liberality of .fenti- 
ment, that you have gi-own richer eipen by th« partsierfhip^ 
of poverty. 

If you think, that this participation was aIo&, commerci- 
ally confidered, but that it has been .compenikted by the 
ihare which Scotland has taken in defraying the public 
charge — I believe you have not very carefuHy looked at the 
public accounts. Ireland, Sir^ pays a great deal more than 
Scotland ; and is perhaps as much^ and as efifedtuaUy united 
to England as Scotland is. But if Scotland, inftead of pay- 
ing little, had paid nothing at allj we fhould be gcohers, not 
k)fers by acquiring the hearty co-operation of an active in- 
telligent people, towards the increafe of the common ftock ; 

inffead 



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GENTLEMEN I N B R I S T L. 165: 

inftead of our being employed ia watching and counter-- 
aifVing them, and their being employed in^ watching and< 
countenufling U9> with the peeviih and churlish jealoufy o£ 
rivals and enemies on both fides. 

I am fure, Sir, that the commercial experience of the 
merchants of Briftol, will foon diiabuie th«aa of the preju'^ 
dice, that they can trade no longer, if countries more lightly 
taxed, are permitted to deal in the fame commodities at 
the fame markets. You know,, that in fz£^ you trade very 
largely where you are met by the goo^ of all nationsr^ 
You even pay high duties, on the in;iport of your goods, 
and afterwards underfell nations lefs taxed, at their own 
markets; and where goods of the fame kind are not charged 
at all. If it were otherwife, you could, trade very little.- 
You know, that the price of all forts of manufa^ure is not 
a great deal inhanced, (except to the domefiic confumer) 
by any taxes paid in this country. This I might very eafily^ 
prove. 

. The fame confider^icm will relieve you from the appre- 
henlion you exprefs, with relation to fugars, and the differ- 
ence of the duties paki here and in Ireland. Thofe duties 
afFeft the interior confumer only ; and for obvious reafons>. 
rdative to the intereft of levenue itfelfy they mafl be pro- 
portioned to his ability of payment; but in all cafes in 
which fugar can be an oijeff of commerce, and therefore (in 
this view) of rivalfhip^ you are fenfible, that you are at leaft 
on a par with Ireland. As to your appreheaiioas concern- 
ing the more advantageous fituation of Ireland, for ibme 
branches of comnierce, (for it is fa but for fome) 1 trufl 
you will not find them more fcrious. Millford Haven, 
which is at your door, may ferve to Ihew you, that the mere 
advantage of ports is not the thing which Ihifts the feat of 
commerce f^om one part of the world to the other. If I 

thought 



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1:66^ TWO LETTERS TO 

< 

thought you incHaed to. take up this ixia^tter on local cctfi-* 
^derations, I ihould ftatfc to you, that I do not know any 
part of the kingdom ib well fitnated for an. sicbrantageous 
commerce with Ireland as Briftol ; and that none would be 
fb likely to profit of its profperity as our city. But yoiir 
profit and tloeirs muft. concur. Beggary and bankruptcy 
are not the circumftances which invite tso an iaterc^wrfe 
with that or with any country; and I believe it will be found 
invariably truc» that the fuperfliiities. of a rieh nation fumiih 
a better obje£t of trade than the ncceifities of a poor one. It 
is the intereft of the coonmercial wocldthot wealth fhould be 
found every where. 

' The true ground of few, in my opinion ts^this; that tv^ 
land, from the vitious fyftem of its internal polity, will be a 
long time before it can derive any benefit from the liberty 
now granted, or from any thing elfe. But as I donot vdte 
advantages, in hopes that they may not be enjoyed, I will 
not Jay any ftrefs upon this confideration. I rather wifh, 
that the padiament.of Ireland may, in its own wifdom, re- 
move thefe impediments, and put their country in a condi- 
tion to avail.itfelf of its natural advantages. If they do not, 
the fault is with them, and: not with us. 

I have written this long letter, in order to give aU pofliMe 
fatisfadtion to my conftituents with regard to- the part I have 
taken in this afiair. It gave me inexprefiible concern to 
find, that my-<:ondu6t had been a caufe of uneafinefs to any 
of them. Next to my honour and confcience, I have no~" 
thing fo near and dear to me as their approbation. How- 
ever, I had much rather run the rifque of difpleafing than 
of injuring them ; — if I am driven to make fuch an option.. 
¥ou obligingly lament, that you are not to have me for your' 
advocate ; but if I had been- capable of acting as aft advo- 
.cato in oppofition to a plan ib pecfe^ly confonant to my 

known 



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GENTLEM^Nll^ BRISTOL. 167 

known principles) and to the opinions I had publickly de- 
clared on an hundred occafionS) I ftiould only difgrace my- 
felf, without fupporting with th^ fmalleft degree of credit 
or effe<St, the caufe you wiflied me to undertake. I fliould 
have loft the only thing which can make fuch abilities as 
mine of any ufe to the world now or hereafter; I mean that 
authority which is derived from an opinion, that a member 
fpeaks the language of truth and lincerity ; and that he is 
not ready to take up or lay down a great political fyftem for 
the convenience of the hour ; that he is in parliament to 
fupport hife opinion of the public good^ and does not form 
his opinion in order to get into parliament, or to continue 
in it. It is in a great meafure for your fake, that I wifti to 
preferve this character. Without it, I am furej I fhpuld be 
ill abte to difcharge, by any fervice, the fmalleft part of that 
debt of gratitude and affe^ion, which I owe you for the 
great and honourable truft you have repofed in me. I am, 
with the higheft regard ami efteem, 

SIR, 

Your moft obedient 

And humble Servant, 



' ItaoonsfiirM, 

ajii April, 1778. 



E. B, 



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t :I68 ) 

C O P Yj 

O F A 

LETTER 

TO 

MESS. «JJ^ **»'** *.**»«* AND CO. BRISTOL. 

Gentlemest, 

IT giyes me the moft "fenfible concern to find, that my 
vote on theTefolutions rdative to the trade of Ireland, 
has not been fortunate enough to meet with your approba- 
tion. I have explained at large the grounds of my condu^ 
on that occafion in my >letters to the Merchants Hall : but 
tny very iincere regard and efteem for you will not permit 
!meto^let the matter pafs without an explanation, which is 
particular to yourfelves, and which^ I hope, will prove fatif- 
fatftory to you. 

Tou tell me, that the conduA of your late member is not 
much wondered at ; but you feem to be at a lofs to account 
for mine ; and you lament, that I have taken fo decided a 
part againji my conftituents. 

This is rather an heavy imputation. Does it then really 
appear to you, that the propofitions, to which you refer, 
are, on the face of them, io manifeftly wrong, and fo cer- 
tainly ii^urious to the trade and manufa<llure8 of Great Bri- 
tain, and particularly to yours, that no man could think of 
propoiing, or fiipporting them, except from refentment to 
you> or from fome other oblique motive } If you fuppofe your 

late 



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GENTLEMEN IN BRISTOL. 169 

late member, or if you fuppofe me, to aA upon other rea- 
fons than we choofe to avow, to what do you attribute the 
condu<St of the other members, who in the beginning almod 
unanimoufly adopted thofe refolutions? To what do you 
attribute the ftrong }>art taken by the minifters, antl along 
with the minifters, by feveral of their moft declared oppo- 
nents ? This dods not indicate a minifterial jobb ; a ijarty de- 
fign ; or a provincial or local puqwfe. It is therefore not fo 
abfolutely clear, that the me^ure is wrong, or likely to be 
injurious to the true interefts of any place, or any perfon. 

The reafon, gentlemen, for taking this ftep, at thi$ time, 
is but too ^obvious and too urgent. I cannot imagine, that 
you forget the great war, which has been carried on with 
fo little fuccefs (and, as I thought, with fo little policy) in 
America; or that you are not aware of the other great 
wars which are impending. Ireland has been called up- 
on to tepel the attacks of enemies of no fmall power, 
brought upon h$r by councils, in which ihe has had no 
ihare. The very purpofe and declared objeA of that ori- 
ginal war, which has brought other wars, and other ene- 
mies cm Ir^tnd, was not very flattering to her dignity, her 
intereft, or to the yery princii^ of her liberty. Yet flie 
fubmitted patiently to the evils (he fufifered from an attempt 
to fubdue tp^i^r obedience, countries whofe very commerce 
was not open to her. Amorica was to be conquered, in or- 
der that Irel^uid fliouldTfo/ trade thither; whilft the mifer- 
able trdde whic^ Ibe is permitted to carry on to other places 
has been tcnm to pieces in the ftruggle. In this fltuation, 
are we neither to fufier her to have any real intereft in our 
quarrel, or to be flattered with the hope of any future 
means c>f bearing the burthens which flie is to incur in de- 
fending hontelf againft oxemies which we have brought 
uppnlier? ^ 

Vol* II. Z I cannot 



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170 T W O L E T T E R S TO 

I cannot fet my face againft fuch arguments, lis it quite 
fair to fuppofe, that I have no other motive for yielding to 
them, but a defire of acting againjimy conftituents ? It is for 

youy and for your intereft, as a dear, cheriftied, and refpedted 
part of a valuable whole, that 1 have taken my Ihare in thi* 
queftion. You do not, you cannot fuffer by it. If honefty 
be true policy with regard to the traniient intereft of indi- 
viduals, it is much more certainly fo with regard to the per- 
manent interefts of communities. I know, that it is but toa 
natural for us to fee our own certain ruin, in the pojjible prof- 
perity jof other people. It is hard to perfuade us, that every 
thing which is got by another is not taken from ourfelves.. 
But it is fit, that we fhould get the better of thefe fuggef- 
tions, which come from what is hot the beft and foundeflr 
part of our nature, and that we Ihould form to ourfelves a 
way of thinking, more rational^ more juft, and more reli- 
gious. Trade is tiot a limited thing; aS if the' Qb^(9:s of 
miitual demand and cotifumption, could fl^ ftnetph ^eyoncS 
the bounds of orur jealoufics^ God has given thelearth to- 
tiie children of n*en, aiid he has undoubtedly, in -gixdng ic 
t&th«m, gi'ven theni what » d.bi]!ndant}y''fufikietit Ibr aii^ 
their eiigencies; not a fc«ntyi i«* iiiittDftj|lbe!'al(p«d*rtfi6ty 
for them all. The aiitlhor of' ou¥'%«iHrtfliksfl written -ir 
ftrongly in that nature, and has jjponiulgilfed t^* fiftne law" 
in his written word, thai t»«h: flSall e* 1ii«' lbwad'fe*f Maf 
labour ; and I am'pftrfiiaded, 'that rro meflj an^ nO'tJotirtUnai- 
tion of meft, fer theit owii -id^fi^ fef ittidr'»i»i«4fc»lfti*'^t^^ 

. caB, without grteat i«jpiety, ■6h^rta&fciiio(fty/«Wat!Jhe[>^^ 
not do fb ; that they^ haV« H^ fort bf right,' eilH^ ¥9'J)ffev^t 

, t?he labour,, or to withhold -the l*readJ Irfelin!*' HSviiig-Te-^ 
c&f9^ no e^rhpenfathn'i &ittSA'^ <K^\k<Sl»tQ&f^^^^ 
Araints on their tfadey bought hdtylfi^^t^ce OF-te^nttsi^^d^' 
nefty, be made fubjeiSt to fuch reftraints. I do not %«iei»16i 

-8> 'Sse^^kHa. 



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GENTLEMEN IN BRISTOL. 171 

impeach the right of the parliament of Great Britain, to 
make laws for the trade of Ireland. I only fpeak of what 
laws it is' right for parliament to make. 

It is nothing to an oppreiled people, to fay that in part 
they are protedled at our charge. The military force which 
Ihail be kept up in order to cramp the natural faculties of 
a people, and to prevent their arrival to their utmoft prof- 
perity, is the inftrument of their fervitude not the means 
of their prote(^on. To protefi: men, is to forward, and not 
to reftrain their improvement. Elfe, what is it more, than 
to avow to them, and to the world, that you guard them 
from others, only to make them a prey to yourfelf. This 
fundamental nature of protedHon does not belong to free, 
but to all governments; and is as. vaUd in Turkey as in 
Great Britain. No government ought to own that it exifls 
for the purpofe of dtieeking the profperity of its people, or 
that there is fuch a principle involved in its policy. 

Under the impre^on of thefe fentiments, (and not as 
wanting every attention to my conflituents, which a£Se<flion 
and gratitude could infpire), I voted for thefe bills which 
give you fo much troubk. I voted for them, not as doing 
complete juftioe to Ireland, but as being fomething lefs 
unjuft than the general prohibition which has hitherto 
prev^led. I hear fome diicourfe, as if in one or two paltry 
duties on materials, Ireland had a preference; and that 
thofe who fet themfelves againft this a(5t of fcanty juftice, 
alTert that they are only contending for an equality. What 
equality ? Do they forget, that the whole woollen raanu- 
fadtiu'e of Ireland, the moft extenfive and profitable of any, 
and the natural ftaple of that kingdom, has been in a man- 
ner io deftroyed by reftriftive laws of ours, and (at our 
perfuafion, and on bur promifes) by reftri6tive laws of their 
owHi that in ja few y oats, -it i« .pr<Jbable, they will not be able , 
.. • Z2 to 



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172 TWO LETTERS TO 

to wear a coat of their own fabric. Is this equality ? Do 
gentlemen forget, that the underftood faith upon which 
they were perfuaded to fuch an unnatural adt, has not been, 
kept ; but a linen-manufadture has been fet up, ami highly 
encouraged, againft them ? Is this equality? Do they for* 
get the ftate of the trade of Ireland in beer, fo great an 
article of confumption, and which n&w ftands in fo mif- 
chievous a pofition with regard to their revenue, theif ma- 
nufadture, and their agriculture ? Do they find any equality 
in all this ? Yet if the leaft ftep is taken towards doing 
them common juftice in the lighteft articles for the moft 
limited markets, a cry is raifed, as if we were gomg to be 
ruined by partiality to Ireland. 

Gentlemen, I know that the deficiency in thefc argiH 
ments is made up (not by you, but by others) .by the ufua!) 
relburce on fuch occafions, the confidence in military ibrce, 
and fuperior power. But that ground of (confidence, .which, 
at no time was perfectly juft, or the avowal of it tolerably 
decent, is at this time very unfeafcmablc. Late experiience 
has (hewn, that it cannot be altogether xelied upon; and 
many, if not all our prefent difficulties, have arifen from 
putting our truft in what may very pofliblyfail ; and if. it 
Ihould fail, leaves thofe who are hurt by fuch a reliance, 
without pity. Whereas honefty and jufti(», re^ifoii and 
equity, go a very great way in fecuring profperity to Aofe 
who ufe them ; and in cafe of failure, fecure. the bell re- 
treat, and the moft honourable confolations. . . 

It is very unfortunate, that we ftiould confider jthofe ^• 
rivals, whom we. ought to regard as felloW-laboiirers in a 
common caufe. Ireland has never made a fingle ftep in it^ 
progrefs towards profperity, by which you have not had a 
ihare, and perhaps the greateft fhare,* in the benefit. Thaf 
progrefs has been chiefly ov^ing to her own natural advan* 

tages^ 



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GENTLEMEN IN BRISTOL. 173 

tages, and her own efforts, which, after a long time, and by 
flow degrees, have prevailed in fome meafure over the mif- 
chievous fyftems which have been adopted. Far enough 
flie is ftill' from having arrived even at an ordinary ftate 
of perfection; and if our jealoufies were to be converted into 
politics, as fyftematically as fome would have them, the 
trade of Ireland would vanifh out of the fyftem of com- 
merce. But, believe me, if Ireland is beneficial to you, it is 
fo not from the parts in which it is reftrained, but from 
thofe in which it is left free, though not left unrivalled* 
The greater its freedom, the greater muft be your advan- 
taige. If you ihould lofe Ih one way, you wjU gain in 
twenty. 

Whilft I remain under this unalterable and powerful con- 
viction, you will not wonder at the decided part I take. 
It is my cuftom fo to do, when I fee my way clearly before 
me ; and when I know, that I am npt mifled by any paf- 
fion, or any perfonal intereft ; which in this cafe, I am very 
fure, I am not. I find that difagreeable things are circu- 
lated among my conftituents ; and I wifti my fentiments, 
which form my juftification, may be equally general with 
the circulation againft me. I have the honour to be, with 
the greateft regard and eiteem. 

Gentlemen, 

Your moft obedient 

and humble fervant, 

Weflminfter, 
May 2, 1778. E. 6. 

I fend the bills. 

MR. 



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MR. BURKE'S 

S P E E C H 

ox PRESENTrKG TO THE HOUSE OF COMMONS 
(on T»E ELEVEKTHOF FEBRUARY, I780) 

A PLAN FOR THE BETTER SECURITY OF THE 
INDEPENDENCE OF PARLIAMENT, 

AND THE 

OECONOMICAL REFORMATION OF THE CIVIL 
AND OTHER ESTABLISHMENTS. 



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( »77 ) 



S P E E C H, &c. 

Mr. Speaker, 

I Rife, in acquittal of my engagement to the houfe, in 
obedience to the ftrong and jiift requifition of my con- 
ftituents, and, I am perfuaded, in conformity to the unani- 
mous wiflies of the whole nation, to fubmit to the wifdom 
of parliament, *^ A plan of reform in the conftitution of 
<« feveral parts of the public oeconomy.'* 

I have endeavoured, that this plan fliould include in its 
execution, a confiderable redu<£tion of improper cxpence ; 
that, it fhould eflFe6t a converfion of unprofitable titles into 
a produiStive eftate; that, it Ihould lead to, and indeed 
almoft compel, a provident adminiftration of fuch fums of 
public money as muft remain under difcretionary trufts ; 
that, it ftiould render the incurring debts on the civil efta- 
blifliment (which muft ultimately affe<5t national ftrength 
and national credit) fo very difficult, as to become next to 
impradlicable. 

. But what, I confefs, was uppermoft with me, what I 
bent the whole force of my mind to, was the redudlion of 
that corrupt influence, which is itfelf the perennial fpring 
of all prodigality, and of all diforder ; which loads us, more 
than millions of debt ; which takes away vigour from our 
arms, wifdom from our councils, and every Ihadow of au- 
thority and credit from the moft venerable parts of our 
conftitution. 

Sir, I afliire you, very folemnly, and with a very clear 
confcience, that nothing in the world has led me to fuch an 
undertaking, but my zeal for the honour of this houfe, and 

Vol. II. A a the 



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178 S P E E C H O N THE 

the fettled, habitual, fyftematic affe<Stion I bear to the caufe, 
and to the principles of government. 

I enter perfetStly into tho nature and coniequences of nny 
attempt ; and I advance to it with a tremor that lhak.es me 
to the inmoft fibre of my frame. I feel, that I engage in a 
bufinefs, in itfelf moft ungracious, totally wide of the cotirfe 
of priident condudt ; and I really think, the moft completely 
adverfe that can be imagined, to the natural turn and 
temper of my own mind. I know, that all parlimony is of 
a quality approaching to unkindnefs ; and that (on fome 
perfon or other) every reform muft operate as a fort of 
punilhment. Indeed the whole clafs of the fevere and 
reftridlive virtues, are at a market almoft too high for 
humanity. What is worfe, there are very few of thofe 
virtues which are not capable of being imitated, and even 
outdone in many of their moft ftriking effe<Sts, by the 
worft of vices. Malignity and envy will carve much more 
deeply, and finiih much more iharply^ in the work of 
retrenchment, than frugality and providence. I do not, 
therefore, wonder that gentlemen have kept away from 
fuch a talk, as well from good-nature ds frotn prudence. 
Private feeling migjit, indeed, be overborne by legiflative 
reafon; and a man of a long-lighted and ftrong-nerved 
humanity,' might bring himfelf, not fo much to consider 
from whom he takes a fuperfluous enjoyment, as for whom 
in the end he may preferve the abfolute neceftaries of 
life. 

But it is much more eafy to reconcile this measure to 
humanity, than to bring it to any agreement with pru- 
dence. I do not mean that little, felfifh, pitiful, baftard 
thing, which fometimes goes by the name of a family in 
which it is not legitimate, and to which it is a difgrace ; — 
I mean even that public and enlarged prudence, which, 

apprehenfive 



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(ECONOMICAL REFORM. 1.79 

apprehenfive of being difabled from rendering acceptable 
fervices to the woild, with-holds itfelf from thofe that are 
invidious. Gentlemen who are, with me, verging towards 
the decline of life, and are apt to form their ideas of kings 
from kings of former times, might dread the anger of a 
reigning prince; — they who are more provident of the 
future, or by being young are more interefted ia it, might 
tremble at the refentment of the fucceffor; they might fee 
a long, dull, dreary, unvaried vifto of defpair and exclufion, 
for half a century, before them. This is no pleafant prof* 
pe6t at the outfet of a political journey. 

Belides this. Sir, the private enemies to be made in all 
attempts of this kind are innumerable ; and their enmity- 
will be the more bitter, and the more dangerous too, be- 
caufe a fenfe of dignity will oblige them to conceal the 
caufe of their refentment. Very few men of great families 
and extenfive connexions, but will feel the fmart of a cut^- 
tirtg reform, in fome clofe relation, fome bofom friend, 
fome pleafant acquaintance, fome dear protected dependants 
Emolun>ent is taken from fome ; patronage from others ; 
objedls of purfuit from all. Men, forced into an involun- 
tary independence, will abhor the authors of a blefling 
which in their eyas has fo very near a refemblance to a 
eurfe^ When officers are removed, and the offices remain, 
you may fet the gratiKide of fome againft the anger of 
others ; you may oppofe the friends you oblige againft the 
enemies you provoke But fervices of the prefent fort 
create no attachments. The individual good felt in a public 
benefit, is comparatively £0 fmall, comes round through 
foch an involved labyrinth of intricate and tedious revolu- 
tions; whiHl a prefent perfonal detriment is fb heavy ,^ 
where it falls, and fo inftant in its operation, that the cold 
commendation of a public advantage never was, and never 

A a z ^^'iB 



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i8o SPEECH ON THE 

will be, a match for the quick fenfibility of a private lofs : 
and you may depend upon it, Sir, that when many people 
have an intereft in railing, fooner or later, they will bring 
a confiderable degree of unpopularity upon any meafure* 
So that, for the prefent at leaft, the reformation will oi)erate 
againft the reformers ; and revenge (as againft them at the 
leaft) will produce all the effedts of corruption. 

This, Sir, is almoft always the cafe, where the plan has 
compleat fuccefs. But how ftands the matter in the mere 
attempt ? Nothing, you know, is more common, than for 
men to wifli, and call loudly too, for a reformation, who, 
when it arrives, do by no means like the feverity of its 
afpedl. Reformation is one of thofe pieces which muft be 
put at fome diftance in order to pleafe. Its greateft fa- 
vourers Idve it better in the abftradt than in the fubllance. 
When any old prejudice of their own, or any intereft that 
they value, is touched, they become fcrupulous, they be- 
come captious, and every man has his feparate exception. 
Some pluck out the black hairs, fome the grey ; one point 
muft be given up to one ; another point muft be yielded to 
another ; nothing is fuffered to prevail upon its own princi- 
ple : the whole is fo frittered down, and disjointed, that 
fcarcely a trace of the original fchenie remains ! Thus, be- 
tween the refiftance of power, and the unfyftematical pro- 
cefs of popularity, the undertaker and the undertaking are 
both expofed, and the poor reformer is hiffed oflf the ilage, 
both by friends and foes. 

Obferve, Sir, that the apology for my undertaking (an 
apology which, though long, is no longer than neceffary) 
is not grounded on my want of the fulleft fenfe of the diffi- 
cult and invidious nature of the tafk I undertake. I rifque 
odium if I fucceed, and contempt if I faiL My excufe muft 
reft in mine and your conviction of the abilute, urgent 

neaejjity 



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CEG GNOMICAL REFORM. i8i 

neceffity there is, that fomething of the kind ihoiild be 
done. If there is any facrifice to be made, either of efti- 
rnation or of fortune, the fmalleft is the.beft. Commanders 
in chief are not to be put upon the forlorn hope. But 
indeed it is neceflary that the attempt Ihould be made« 
It is neceflary from our own political circumftances ; it is 
neceflary from the operations of the enemy ; it is neceflary 
from the demands of the people; whofe defires, when 
they do not militate with the ftable and eternal rules of 
juftice and reafon (rules which are above us, and above 
them) ought to be as a law to a houfe of commons. 

As to our circumftances ; I do not mean to aggravate the 
ctfiiculties of them, by the ftrength of any colouring what- 
foever. On the contrary, I obferve, and obferve with 
pleafure, that our affairs rather wear a more promifing 
afpecSl than they did on the opening of this feflion. We have 
had ferae leading fuccefles. But thofe who rate them at the 
higheft (higher a great deal indeed than I dare to do) are of 
opinion, that, upon the ground of fuch advantages, we 
cannot at this time hope to make any treaty of peace, 
which would not be ruinous and completely difgraceful. 
In fach an anxious ftate of things, if dawnings of fuccefs 
ferve to animate our diligence, they are good ; if they tend 
to encreaie our prefumption, they are worfe than defeats. 
The ftate of our affairs ftiall then be as promiftng as any 
one may choofe to conceive it: It is however but promifing. 
We muft recolle61", that with but half of our natural 
ftrength, we are at war againft confederated powers who have 
fingly threatened us with ruin : We muft recolledt, that 
whilft we are left naked on one fide, our other flank is un- 
covered by any alliance ; That whilft we are weighing and 
balancing our fuccefles againft our loflTes, we are accumula- 
ting debt to the amount of at leaft fourteen millions in the 
year. That lofs is certain. 

I have 



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i8a SPEECHON THE 

I have no wrfh to deny, that our fuccefles are as brtUiant 
as any one choofes to make them ; our refources too may» 
for me, be as unfathomable as they are reprefented. In- 
deed they are juft whatever the people poflefs, and will 
fubmit to pay. Taxing is an eafy bufinefs. Any proje<ftor 
can contrive new impofitions ; any bungler can add to the 
old. But is it altogether wife to have no other bounds to 
your impoiitionS) than the patience of thofe who are to 
bear them ? 

All I claim upon» the fubjedt of your refources is this, 
that they are not likely to be increafed by wafting them.^ 
I think I Ihall be permitted to aflume, that a fyftem of 
frugality will not leflTen your riches, whatever they may 
be ; — I believe it will not be hotly difputed, that thofe re- 
fources which lie heavy on the fubjedt, ought not to be 
objedls of preference ; that they ought not to be the very 
firjl choice^ to an honeft reprefentative of the people. 

This is all. Sir, that I ihall fay upon our circumftances 
and our refources : I mean to fay a little more on the ope- 
rations of the enemy, becaufe this matter feems to me very 
natural in our prefent deliberation. When I look to the 
other fide of" the water,. I cannot help recolledting what 
Pyrrhus faid on reconnoitring the Roman camp, " Thefe 
** barbarians have nothing barbarous in their difcipline.** 
When I look, as I have pretty carefully looked, into the 
proceedings of the French king, I am forry to fay it, I fee 
nothing of the character and genius of arbitrary finance ; 
none of the bold frauds of bankrupt power ; none of the 
wild ftruggles, and plunges, of defpotifm in diflrefs ;, — ^na 
lopping off from the capital of debt ; — no fufpenfion of 
interefl ; — no robbery under the name of loan ;— no raifing^ 
the value, no debafmg the fubiSance of the coin. I fee 
neither Louis the fourteenth nor Louis the fifteenth. Qii 

the& 



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CECONOMICAL REFORM. 1S3 

the contrary, I behold with aftonifhment, rifing before me» 
by the very hands of arbitrary power, and in the very midft 
of war and cx)nfulion, a regular, methodical fyftem of 
public credit ; I behold a fabric laid on the natural and folid 
foundations of truft and confidence among men ; and riling, 
by fair gradations, order over order, according to the juft 
rules of fymmetry and art. What a reverfe of things ! 
Principle, method, regularity, oeconomy, frugality, juftice 
to individuals, and care of the people, are the refources 
with which France makes war upon Oreat Britain. God 
avert the omen ! But if we ihould fee any genius in war and 
politics arife in France, to fecond what is done in the bu- 
reau ! — I turn my eyes from the confequences. 

The noble lord in the blue ribbon, laft year, treated all 
this with contempt. He never could conceive it poffible 
that the French minifter of finance could go through that 
year with a \o7tn of but feventeen hundred thoufand pounds ; 
and that he ftiould be able to fund that loan without any 
tax. The fecond year, however, opens the very fame 
icene. A fmall loan, a loan of no more than two millions 
five hundred thoufand pounds, is to carry our enemies 
through the fervice of this year alfo. No tax is raifed to 
fund that debt ; no tax is raifed for the current fervices. I 
am credibly informed that there is no anticipation what* 
foever. * Compenfations are corredlly made. Old debts 
continue to be funk as in the time of profound peace. Even 
payments which their treafury had been authorized to fuf- 
pend during the time of war, are not fufpended. 
. A general reform, executed through every department 
of the revenue^ creates an annual income of more than 
haljf a million, whilft it facilitates and fimplifies all the 

• This term comprehends various retributions made to perfons whofe oftces arc taken 
kway, or who, in any other way, fulfer by die new arnuigements that atre made. 

' § fun^ions 



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i84 SPEECH ON THE 

fundions of adminiftration. The king^s boufebold^-^t the 
remoteft avenues to which, all reformation has been hither- 
to flopped — ^that houfehold, which has been the ftrong hold 
of prodigality, the virgin fortrefs which was never before 
attacked — has been not only not defended, but it has, even 
in the forms, been furrendered by the king to the oecono- 
my of his minifter. No capitulation ; no referve. CEcono- 
my has entered in triumph into the public fplendor of the 
monarch, into his private amufements, into the appoint- 
ments of his neareft and higheft relations. (Economy and 
public fpirit have made a beneficent and an honeft fpoil; they 
have plundered,' from extravagance and luxury, for the ufe 
of fubftantial fervice, a revenue of near four hundred thou- 
fand pounds. The reform of the finances, joined to this 
reform of the court, gives to the public nine hundred 
thoufand pounds a year and upwards. 

The minifter who does thefe things is a great man — But 
the king who defires that they Ihould be done, is a far 
greater. We muft do juftice to our enemies — Thefe are the 
a£ts of a patriot .king. I am not in dread of the vaft armies 
of France : I am not in dread of the gallant fpirit of its 
brave and numerous nobility : I am not alarmed even at the 
great navy which has been fo ihiraculoufly created. All 
thefe things Louis the fourteenth had before. With all 
thefe things, the French monarchy has more than once 
fallen proftrate at the feet of the public faith of Great 
Britain. It was the want of public credit which difabled 
France from recovering after her defeats, or recovering 
even from her victories and triumphs* It was a prodigal 
court, it was an ill-ordered revenue^ that Tapped the foun^ 
dations of all her greatnefs. Credit cannot exift under the ' 
arm of neceflity. Neceflity ftrikes at credit, I allow, with a 
heavier and quicker blow under an arbitrary monarchy, 

than 



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OECONOMICAL REFORM. 185 

than under a limited and balanced government: but ftill 
. neceffity and credit are natural enemies, and cannot be long 
reconciled in. any iituation. From neceffity. and corruption, 
a free Saitc may lofe the {pirit of that complex conftitution 
which is the foundation of cxanfrdencc • On the othet hand, 
I am f tr from being fure,. that a monarchy, when once it is 
properly regulated, may not for a long, time, furnifti a 
foundation for credit upon the folidity of its maxims, though 
k afibrds no ground of trufi: in its inftitutions. Lam afraid 
I fee in England, and in France, fomething like a beginning 
of both thefe things. I vdfh I may be found in a-millake. - 

This very Hiort,. and very imperfe<5t ftate of what is now 
going on in France (the laft circumfiances of which. I 
received in about eightdays after the regiftry» of the * edi<a) 
I do not, Sir^ lay before you. for an^ invidious purpofe. It 
is in order to etKcite in las the fpiritof a nobie;emulation.«-^ 
Let the ^natiouis' make fwatupcndach other (lince we muA 
make war) not with a low atid .vul^ai* hnalignityv but by a. 
oompetltloii of virtues* This ii the only way by which 
both parties can gain bywar. The French have imitated 
us; let us, thrbughthem, imitate ourfelv!es; ourfelves in 
our better and- happier days. If public fnigaiity, tinder 
Whatever men, or in whatever mode of gdverntneftt, is na- 
tional ftrength, it is a Hrength which our enemies are in; 
pofleffion of before us. 

Si!^, I am well aware, that the ftate and the refult of the 
French- oeeortomy which I have laid before you, are even 
now lightly treated by fome, who ought nev«r to fpeak but 
from information. Pain's have not been fpared, to reprefent 
them as impofitions oti the public. Let me tell you. Sir, 
that the creation of a' navy, and a two years war without 
taxing, are a very Angular fpecies^ of impoftnre. But be it 

: ' ' • Edia, re^flered a^ January, 1780. - 

Vol. II. B b fo. 



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i8^ SPEECH ON THE 

fo. For what end does Neckar cany on this delufion I I* 
it to lower the eftimation of the crown he ferves, and tQ 
render his own adminiflration contemptible? No! No 5 
He is confcious, that the fenfe of mankind is' fQ«lfeaF.an4 
decided in favour of oeconomy> and of the weight and 
value of its refources> that he turns himfelf to every fpeeies 
of ftraud and artifice^ to obtain the mere reputation of it^ 
Men do not affedt a condu<3: that tends to theiir difiredit* 
Let.us, then, get the betterofMoniienr Neckar in his own. 
vay— tLct us do in reality what he does only ki pretence.— 
Let us turn his French tin£bl into Enghih gold. Is thea 
the meer opinion and appearance of frugality and good 
management of fuch ufe to France, and is the fubilance to- 
be fo mifchievous to England ? Is the very conftitotioa of 
nature ib altered by a fea of. twenty miles, that oeconomy 
ihould give power on the continent^ and that profufioa- 
fhould give it here ^ For God's fake let not this be the only 
faihion of France which we refufe to copy* 

To the lail: kind of neceffity, the defires of the people^ I 
liavc but a very fern. wtDtds .to fay. The minifiers feemi 
to- contefb this point ;^ and afie(St to doubt>. whether the: 
peojde 4q liealLy de£jre ar plan. of ceconomy in the civil go- 
vernment. Sir, this is too ridiculous^ It is impoffible thal^ 
they ihould not deiire it. It is impioi&blie that a prodigality 
which draws its refources from their, ind^ence, fhould be- 
pleafing to thenifc Little faftions of penfioners,; and their 
dej^ndants,: may talk another language. But the voice of 
Bature is againft tbem ; and it will be heard. The people.; 
of England will not, they, cannot take it kindly, that repre-^ 
fentatiyes fhould refufe.to their conftituents> what an abfo- 
lute fovereign voluntarily offers to his fubj^^.. The: 
expreffion of the petitions is, that **6efore any new bur- 
" tbens are laid uj^on this country y effeBual meafures be 

.*< taktff. 



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CECONOMICALREFORM. 187 

• 

« taken by this boufe, to enquire into, and correSiy the grofs 
" abufes in the expenditure ofpubHc money, ^ 

This has been treated by the noble lord in the blue rib- 
bon, as a wild factious language.. It happens, however, 
that the people in their addrefs to us, ufe almoft word for 
word the iame terms as the king of France ufes in addref- 
fing himfelf to his people ; and it diflfers only, as it falls 
fhort of the French king's idea of what is due to his fub- 
je<5ts. " To convince," fays he, " our faithful fubje<as of 
« the dejire we entertain not to recur to new impojitions, un- 
** til we have firft exhaufted all the refources which order 
" and ceconomy can poflibly fupply." — 8cc. &c. 

Thefe defircs of the people of England, which come far 
ihort of the voluntary concessions of the king of France, 
are moderate indeed. They only contend that we Should 
interweave fome ceconomy with the taxes with which we 
have chofen to begin the war. They requeft, not that you 
fliould rely upon ceconomy exdufively, but that you fhould 
give it rank and precedence, in the order of the ways 
and. means of this iingle ieffion. 

But if it were poffible, that the deiires of our conlHtu- 
ents, deiires which are at once fo natural, and fo very much 
tempered and fubdued, fhould have no weight with an 
houfe of commons, which has its eye elfewhere ; I would 
turn my eyes to the very quarter to which theirs are di- 
rected. I would reafon this matter with the houfe, on the 
mere policy of the queftion ; and I would undertake to 
prove, that an early dereliction of abufe, is the direct in- 
tereft of government; of government taken abftraCtedly 
from its duties, and confidered merely as a fyftem intending 
its ownicpoCervation. 

' If th^re is any one eminent criterion, which, above all 
the xeit, diftioguiihes a wife govelnment from an admini-. 

B b !j ftration 



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j8$ speech on the 

• 

ftration weak and improvident, it is this ;— *< well to know 
** the beft time and manner of yielding, what it is impofli- 
<* ble to keep.** — There have been, Sir, and there are, many 
who choofe to chicane with their fituation, rather than be 
inftru<5ted by it. Thofe gentlemen argue againft every 
defire of reformation, upon the principles of a criminal 
pfofecution. It is enough for them to juftify their adhe- 
rence to a pernicious fyftera, that it is not of their contri- 
vance ; that it is an inheritance of abfurdity, derived to 
them from their anceftors ; that they can make out a long 
and unbroken pedigree of mifmanagers that have gone 
before themi They are proud of the. antiquity of their 
koufe ; and they defend their errors,, as if ihey were de- 
fending their inheritance ; afraid of derogating frorn their 
nobility ; and carefully avoiding a ibrt of blot in their 
fbutcheon, which they think would degrade thera for 
ever. 

' It was thus that the unfortunate Charles the Firft de- 
fended himfelf on the pradHoe of the Staart who went 
before him, and of all the Tudors; his partizans might 
have gone to the Plantagenets.-^They might have Ibund 
bad examples enough, both abroad andt at home, that could 
have fhewn an antient and iliuftrious deicent. But there is 
a time, when men will not fuffer bad- things becaufe their 
anceftors have fuffered worfe. There is a time,, when the 
hoary head of invjetera(?e abufe, will neither dr»w veverenee 
nor obtain protection. : I£ the noble lord- in Uie blue ribbon 
pleads, »noi guilty^ to: the charges brought agamft the 
prefent fyftem of public oorconomy, it is not poi&ble to give 
a fair verdict by which he wiH not ftand acquitted. 9^ 
pleading is not our prefent bufinefs. His jdfta'or his tra- 
verfe maybe allowed as an ftnfuiier to a charge, whea a 
charge is made. But if he ^uts himfelf in the -vf^y to-ob- 

ftrua 



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CECONOMICAL REFORM- 159 

ftru£k refonnation, then the faults of his office inftantly 
become his own» Inftead of a public officer in an abu- 
five department, whofe province is an objedt to be regu- 
lated, he becomes a criminal who is to be puniflied. 1 do 
moft ferioufly put it to adminiftration, to conlider the wif- 
dom of a timely reform. Early reformations are amicable 
arrangements with a friend in power; late reformations are 
terms impofed upon a conquered enemy : early reforma- 
tions are made in cool blood ; late reformations are made 
under a fta,te of inflammation* In that ilate of things the 
people be)iold in government nothing that is refpedtable. 
They fee the abufe, and they will fee nothing elfe — They 
fall into the temper of a furious populace provoked at the 
diforder of a houfe of ill fame; they never attempt to 
correct or regulate ; they go to work by the fhorteft way— 
They abate the nufance, they pull down the houfe. 

This is my opinion with regard to the true intercfl of 
government, Bvtt as it is the intereft of government that 
refiOTmation fhould be early, it is the interefl of the people 
that it fhould be temperate* Jt is their intereft, becaufe a 
temperate reform is permanent ; and becaufe it has a prin* 
ciple of grbwtht Whenevet we improve, it is right to leave 
Foom for a farther improvement. It is right to confider, to 
look about us, to examine the effect of what we have done.— 
Then we can prioceed vdth confidence, becaufe we can pro-- 
eeed withuintelligence. Whereas in hot reformations, in 
what men, more zealous than confiderate, call making clear 
ivorJtj the whole is generally fo crude, fo harfh, fo indi- 
gefted; mixed with fb much imprudence, and fb much 
iAjuflice ; fb contrary to the whole courfe of human nature, 
and human kiftitutions, that the very people who are mofl 
eager for it, arte among the firfl: to grow; difgufled at what 
they have dcMoe. Thea fome part of the abdicated grievance 

is 



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190 SPEECH ON THE 

is recalled from its exile in order to becomfe a corredlive of 
the corredtion. Then the abufe aflbmes all the credit and 
popularity of a reform. The very idea of purity and difin- 
tereftednefs in politics falls into difrepute, and is contidered 
as a vifion of hot and inexperienced men; and thus diforders 
become incurable, not by the virulence of their own qua- 
lity, but by the unapt and violent nature of the remedies. 
A great part therefore, of my idea of reform, is meant to 
operate gradually; fome benefits will come at a nearer, fome 
at a more remote period. We muft no more make hafte to 
be rich by parlimony, than by intemperate acquifition. 

In my opinion, it is our duty when we have the delires of 
the people before us, to purfuc them, not in the fpirit of 
literal obedience, which may militate with their very prin- 
ciple, much iefs to treat them with a peevifh and conten- 
tious litigation, as if we were adverfe parties in a,fuit. It 
would, Sir, be moft diftionourable for a faithful reprefenta- 
tive of the commons, to take advantage of any inartificial 
expre^on of the peopld*s wifhes, in order to fruftrate their 
attainimeht.of what they have an imdoubted right to expeft. 
We are imder infinite obligations to our conftituents, who 
have taifed ds to fo diftinguifhed a truft, and have imparted 
fiich a -degree of fandlity to common characters. We ought 
to walk before them with purity, plainnefs, and integrity 
of heart ; with filial love, and not with flavifh fear, which 
is always a low and tricking thing. For my., own part, 
in what I have meditated upon that fubje<St, I cannot in- 
deed take upon me to fay I have the honour to follovo- 
the fenfe of the people. The truth is, / met it on the 
way^ while I was purfuing their intereii according to my 
own ideas. I am happy beyond expreffion, to find that my, 
intentions have fo far coincided with theirs, that I have not 
Jiad caufe to be in the leaft fcrupulous to fign tlieir. p^ti* 

8 tibn, 



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(ECONOMICAL REFORM. 191 

tidn, conceiving it to exprefs my own opinions, as nearly 
as general terms can exprefs the obje<£t of particular arrange- 
ments. 

I am therefore fatisfied to a(Sfc as a fair mediator between 
government and the people> endeavouring to form a plan 
which iliould have both an early and a temperate operation. 
I mean, that it ihould be fubftantial ; that it ihould be fyfte- 
matic That it ihould rather ftrike at the firft caufe of pro- 
digality and corrupt influence, than attempt to follow them 
in all their effects. 

It was to fulfil the firft of thefe objed^s (the propofal of 
fomething fubftantial) that I found myfelf obliged at the 
out-fet, to reject a plan propofed by an honourable and * at- 
tentive member of parliament, with very good intentions 
on his part, about a year or two ago. Sir, the plan I fpeals^ 
of, was the tax of 25 per cent, moved upon places and pen- 
fions during the continuance of the American war.~No- 
thing, Sir, could have met my ideas more than fuch a tax,, 
if it was confidered as a pra^cal fatire on that war, and 
as a penalty upon thofe who led us into it; but in any 
other view it appeared to me very liable to objei5tions. I 
confideredthefcheme as neither fubftantial, nor permanent,, 
nor fyftematical, nor likely to be a corredlive of evil in- 
fluence. I have always thought employments a very pro-^ 
per fubjeft of regulation, but a very ill-chofen fubjedt for a. 
tax. An equal tax upon property is reafonable; becaufe 
the obje(5i is of the fame quality throughout. The Ipecies 
is the fame, it differs only in its quantity : but a tax upon 
falaries is totally of a diiSferent nature; there can be na 
equality, and confequently no juftice, in taxing them by the 
hundred) in the grofs. 

We have, Sir, on our eftabliihment, fcveral offices which: 

• Thomas Gilbert £iq. Member for Litchfield.. 

performi 



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J92 SPEECH ON THE 

perform real fervice — We have alfo places that provide 
large rewards for no fervice at all. We have ftations which 
are made for the public decorum ; ma'de for preferving the 
grace and majefty of a great people — ^We have likewife 
expenfive foiinalities, which tend rather to the difgrace 
than the ornament of the Hate and the court. This, Sir, is 
the real condition of our -eftabliftiments. To fall with the 
fame feverity on objedts fo perfe<^y diilimilar, is the very re- 
verfe of a reformation. I mean a reformation framed, as all 
ferious things ought to be, in number, weight, and mea- 
fure.-^Suppofe, for infiance, that two nien receive a falary 
of jT. 800 a year each. — In the office of one, there is nothing 
at all to b&done ; in the other, the occupier is oppreflfed by 
its dutie8.-.-Strike off twenty-five per cent, from thefe two 
offices, you take from one man ^C. 200, which in juftice he 
ought to have, and you give in effect to the other X". 600, 
which he ought not to receive. The public robs the 
former, '^^nd the latter robs the public; and this mode of 
mutual jn^bery is the only way in which the office and the 
public can make up their accounts. 

But the balance in fettling the account of this double 
injuftice, is much againft the ftate. The refult is ihort. 
You putchafe a faving of two hundred pounds, by a profu- 
lion of fix. Befides, Sir, whilft you leave a fupply-of un- 
fecured money behind^ wholly at the difcretion of minifters, 
they make up the tax to fuch places asthey wifti to favour, 
or in fuch new places as they may choofe fo create. Thus 
the civil lift becomes oppreiTed with debt ; and the public is 
obliged to repay, and to repay with an heavy intereft, what 
it has taken by an injvtdicious tax. Such has been the 
effect of the taxes hitherto laid on penfions and em^oy- 
ments, and it is no encouragement to recnir again to the fame 
expedient. 

4 - In 



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CE.C O N O M I C A L REFORM, 193 

In efFedt, iuch a fcheme is not calculated to produce, but 
to prevent reformation. It holds out a fhadow of prefent 
gain to a greedy and neceffitous public, to divert their atten- 
tion from thofe abufes, which in reality are the great caufes 
of their wants.^ It is a compofition to ftay enquiry; it is a 
fine paid by mifmanagement, for the renewal of its leafe. 
What is worfe, it is a fine paid by induftry and merit, 
for an indemnity to the idle and the worthlefs. But I fhall 
fay no more upon this topic, becaufe (whatever may be 
given out to the contrary) I know that the noble lord in 
the blue ribbon perfedly agrees with me in ihefe fenti- 
raents. 

After ail that I have faid on this fubje^fl, I am fo fen- 
fible, that it is our duty to try every thing which may con- 
tribute to the relief of the nation, that I do not attempt 
wholly to reprobate the idea even of a tax. Whenever, Sir, 
the incumbrance of ufelcfs office (which lies no lefs a dead 
weight upon the fervice of the ftate, than upon its reve- 
nues) Ihall be removed ; — when the remaining offices fliall 
be claflTed according to the juft proportion of their rewards 
and fervices, fo as to admit the application of an equal rule 
to their taxation, when the difcretionary power over the 
civil lift cafh lliall be fo regulated, that a minifter fhall no 
longer have the means of repaying with a private, what is 
taken by a public hand — if after all thefe preliminary regu- 
lations, it Ihould be thought that a tax on places is an ob- 
je<Sl worthy of the public attention, I Ihall be very ready to 
lend my hand to a reduction of their emoluments. 

Having thus. Sir, not fo much abfolutely reje<Sted, as poft- 
jxmed, the plan of a taxation of office, — my next bufinefs 
was to find fomething which might be really fubftantial and. 
effectual. I am quite clear^ that if we do not go to the very 
origin and firft ruling caufe of grievances, we do nothing. 

Vol. IL C c What / 



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1^ SPEECH ON THE * 

What does it Signify to turn abufes out of one door, if we 
are to let them in at another ? What does It (Ignify to pro- 
nrtbte oeconomy upon a meafure, and to fufFer it to be fub- 
velted in the principle ? Our minifters are far from being 
wholly to blarne for the prefent ill order which prevails. 
Whilft inftitutions diredtly repugnant to good management, 
are fuflfered to remain, no effe<Stual or lafting reform can be 
introduced. 

1 therefore thought it necelTary, as foon as I conceived 
thoughts of fubmitting to you fome plan of reform, to take 
a Comprehenfive view of the ftate of this country ; to make 
a fort of furvey of its jurifdi<Slions, its eftates, and its efta- 
blilhments. Something, in every one of them, Teemed to 
me to ftand in the way of all oeconomy in their adminiftra- 
tion, and prevented every poffibility of methodizing the fyf- 
tem. But being, as I ought to be, doubtful of myfelf, I 
Was refolved not to proceed in an arbitrary manner, in any 
particular which tended to change the fettled ftate of things, 
6r in any degree to afFe(St the fortune or iituation, the 
intereft or the importance, of any individual. By an arbi- 
trary proceeding, I mean one condu£led by the private 
opinions, taftes, or feelings, of the man who attempts to 
regulate. Thefe private meafures are not ftandards of the 
exchequer, nor balances of the fanAuary. General prin- 
ciples cannot be debauched or corrupted by intereft or 
caprice; and by thofe principles I was refolved to work. 

Sir, before I proceed further, 1 will Jay thcfe principles 
fairly before you, that afterwards you may be in a con- 
dition to judge whether every objeft of regulation, as I 
jpropofe it, comes fairly under its rule. This will exceed- 
ingly fliorten all difcuffion between us, if we are perfcdly 
in eameft in eftablifliing a fyftem of good management. I 
therefore lay down to myfelf, fovea fundamentid rules; 
I they 



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(ECONOMICAL REFORM, 195 

they might indeed be reduced to two or three iitnple max- 
ims, but they wouW be too general, ajid their application 
to the fevfcral bewH of the bufinefs, before us, would not be 
fo diftiadl and vLfible. I qoncpive then, 

Fir^^ That alj jurtfdi<ttion.s which fMrnifh more matter 
of expence, more temptation to oppfeflion,. or more 
means sod inftrumeiits of cprrupt influence, than 
advantage to juftice or political adminiftration, ought 
to be aboliftied.. 
Secandfyf That all public eftates which are more fub- 
fervient to the purpofes of vexing, overawing, and 
influencing thofe who hold under them, and to the 
expence oi perception and coanagement, than of be- 
nefit to the revenue, ought, upon every principle^ 
both .of revenue and of freedom, to b^ difpofed of; 
Thirdly^ That all offices which bring more charge tha^ 
proportional advantage to the ftato; that all o^cef 
which may be engrafted on others, uniting and fim^ 
plifying their duties, ought, in the firft cafe, to be 
taken away ; and in the fecond, to be confolid^ted. 
Fourthly^ That all fuch offices ought to be abolifhed, 
as obftru(5t the profpecfl of the general fuperintendaot 
of finance; which deftroy his fuperintendancy, which ^ 
difable him from forefeeing and providing for 
charges as they may occur; from preventing ex- 
pence in its origin, checking it in its progrefs, or 
fecuring its application to its proper purpofes. A 
minifter under whoni expence? can be made without 
his knowledge, can never fay what it is that he caa 
fpend, or what it is that he can fave. 
Fifthly^ That it 15 propesr to ejftabii/h an invariable order 
in aU payments; which wUl:prevent partiality; which 
wiil give .prefereixce to fervices, n.ot according to the 

C c 2 importunity 



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1Q& S P E E C H O N' T H E 

importunity of the demandant, but the rank and 
order of their utility or their juftice^ 
Sixtbfyy That it is right to reduce every eftablifliment, 
and every part of an eftablifliment (as nearly as pof- 
lible} to certainty, the life of all arder and good 
management. 
Seventh fyy That all fubordinate treafuries, as the nurfe- 
ries of mifmanagement, and as naturally drawing 
to themfelves as much money as they can, keeping 
it as long as they can, and accounting for it as late 
as they can, ought to be diflblved. They have a 
tendency to perplex and diftradt the public accounts,, 
and to excite a fufpicion of government, even be- 
yond the extent of their abufe. 
Under the authority and with the guidance of thofe prin- 
ciples, I proceed ; wiQiing that nothing in any eftablifliment 
may be changed, where I am not able to make a ftrong,, 
direcft, and folid application of thofe principles, or of fome 
one of them. An oeconomical conftitution is a neceflary balls 
for an oeconomical adminiftration. 

Firft, with regard to the fovereign jurifdidions, I muft 
obferve, Sir, that whoever takes a view of this kingdom ia 
a curfory manner, will imagine, that he beholds a folid^ 
eompadled, uniform fyftem of monarchy ; in which all in- 
ferior jurifclidlions are but as rays diverging f^'^m. one 
center^ But on examining it more nearly,, you find muchi 
eccentricitry and confufion. k is not a monarchy in. ftrid- 
nefs. But, as in the Saxon times this country was an hep- 
tarchy, it is now^ a ftrange fort of pentarchy. It is divide* 
into five feveraldiftindfc principalities, befidtes the fapreme. 
There is indeed this difference from the Saxon times, that as 
in the itinerant exhibitions of the ftage, for want of a com- 
plete company, they are obliged to throw a variety of parts. 

on 



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r. 



CE G GNOMICAL iR E F O R M- 197 

cni their chief performer; fo our fovcreign condefcends him- 
felf toaa, not only the principal but all the fubordinate 
jmrts in the play. He candefcends to diflip^te the royal 
character, "land to trifk with thofe light ' fubordinate lac- 
quered fceptres in thofe hands that fullain the ball, repre- 
fenting the world, or which wield the trident that comniands 
the oceani. Crofs a brook, and you lofe the king of Eng- 
land; but you have fome comfort in coming again under 
his majefty, though ^^fliorn of his beams,^ and no more 
than prince of Wales* Go to the norths and you find him 
dwindled to a duke of Lancafter; turn to the weft of 
that north,, aiid he pops upon, you in the humble charadler 
of earl of Chefteiv Travel a few miles on, the earl of 
Cheiter difappears; and the king furprifes you again as 
count palatine of Lancafter. If you travel beyond Mount 
Edgecombe, you find him once more in his incognito, and 
he is duke of Cornwall.. So that, quite fatigued and fatiated 
with this dull variety, you are infinitely refrefhed when you 
return to^ the fphere of his proper fplendor, and behold 
your amiable fovereign in his true, fimple, undifguifed>; 
native charadler of majefty.. 

In every one of thefe five principalities, duchies, palati** 
nates, there is a regular eftablilhment of confiderable ex* 
pence, and moft domineering influence. As his majefty 
fubmits to appear in this ftate of ftibordination to himfelf,. 
his loyal peers and faithful commons attend his royal 
transformations ; and are not fo nice as to refufe to nibble 
at thofe crumbs of emoluments, which confole their ^petty 
metamorphofes.. Thus every one of thofe principalities- has 
tiie apparatus of a kingdom, for the jurifdidtion over a 
few private eftates; and the formality and chaise of the 
exchequer of Great Britain, for coUedting the rents of a 
country /fquire.. Cornwall is the beft. of them ; but when^ 

you. 



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198 SPEECH ON THE 

yo\i compare the charge with the receipt, you will find that 
it fumilhes no exception to the general rule. The duchf 
and county palatine of Lancafter do not yield, as I have 
rcafon to believe, on an average of twenty years, four 
thoufand pounds a year, clear to the crown. As to Wales, 
and the county palatine of Chefter, I have my doubts, 
"Whether their produ<ftive exchequer yields any jretums at 
all. Yet one may fay, that this revenue is more faithfully 
applied to its purpofes than any of the reft; as it exifts for 
the fole purpofe of multiplying offices, and extending 
influence. 

An attempt was latdy made to improve .this branch of 
local influence, and to transfer it to the fimd of general 
corrni^ion. I have on the feat behind me, the conftitutioji 
of Mr. John Probert; -a. knight-errant, dubbed by the 
noble lord in the blue ribbon, and fent to fearch for reve- 
nues and adventures upon the mountains of Wales. The 
commiffion is pemarkable ; and the -event not Icfe ib. The 
<x)mmfifiion fets forth, that <* Upon a neport of tdac deputy 
'* auditor (for ther« i£ a deputy auditor) of the principality 
*< of Wales, it appeared, that his majefty's land revenues in 
■« the faid principality, are greatly diminiJbed'^-^iaxxA "tjiat 
^* upon a report of the furveyor general odf his -majefty's land 
•* revenues, upon a memorial of ths auditor of his majefty's 
** Ttyenues 'ivitbin tbe faid principality^ that his tnines and 
^* forefts have produced very little profit either to the public 
« revenue or to individuals ;"— and therefore they ap^itxt 
N6r.iProbert, with a peniion of three hundred -pounds a yea* 
^om tbe faid principality, to try whether he can make any 
ithing more of that very little which is ftated to he io greatly 
-diminiffaed. -** A .beggarly acmunt of empty b»xes^ And 
•yet, Shr, you will ismafk — that this dimimition fipom littleseis 
(which ferves >oiily lo prove the infinite divisibility of iDat- 

ter) 



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CECONOMIGAL REFOJEIM. 199 

ter) was not for want of the tender and officious care (as 
we fee) of furveyors generaj, and furveyors particular; 
of auditors and deputy auditors ; not for want of tnemori- 
als, and remonftrances, and reports, and commiflions, and 
conftitutions, and inquiiitions, and penfions* 

Probert, thus armed, and accoutred, — and paid, proceeded 
on his adventure; — but he was no fooner arrived on the 
confines of Wales, than all Wales was in arms to meet him. 
That nation is braye, and full of fpirit* Since the invafion 
of king Edward, and the maflacre of the bards, there never 
was fuch a tumult, and alarm, and uproar, through the region 
of Freftatyn. Smwden ihook to its bafe ; Cader Edris.viz^ 
loofened from its foundations* The fury of litigious ,war 
blew her horn on the mountains. The rocks poured down 
their goat-herds, and the deep ciiverns vomited out their 
miners. Every thing above ground, and every thing 
under ground, was in arms. 

In fhort, Sir, to alight from my Welfli Pegafusy and ta 
come to level ground; the Preux Cb£valier JPxohtvt went to 
look for revenue, like his mailers upon other occalions; 
an^ like his matters, he found rebellion. But we were 
grown cautious by experience* A civil war of pap^r might; 
end in a more ferious war; for now remonftrance met 
remonHrance, and memorial was oppofed to memoriaU 
The wife Britons thought it more reafonable that the poor 
wafted decrepit revenue of the principality^ Ihould die a 
natural than a violent death. In truth, Sir, the attempt was 
|io leis an afiront upon the underftanding of that refpeq- 
table people, than it was an attack on their property. They 
chofethat their antient moft -grown caftles fhoukt moulder 
into decay, imder the filent touches of time, and the flow for- 
^i^ality of an obliv^pps, and drowfy e;cchequer, than that they 
fliould be battered down aU at once, by tlg^e Jively effi^its pf ^ 

penfioned 



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doo SPEECH ON T H E "^ 

penfioned engineer. As it is the fortune of the noble lotd to 
whom the aufpices of this campaign belonged, frequently 
to provoke refiftance, fo it is his rule and nature to yield to 
that refiftance in all cafes wbatfoever. He was true to him- 
felf on this occafion. He fubmitted with fpirit to the fpirited 
remonftrances of the Welfh. Mr. Probert gave up his ad- 
venture, and keeps his penlion — and fo ends " the famous 
" hiftory of the revenue adventures of the bold baron North, 
^^ and the good knight Probert, upon the mountains of 
" Venodotia.** 

In fuch a ftate is the exchequer of Wales at prefent, that 
upon the report of the treafury itfelf, its little revenue is 
greatly diminifhed ; and we fee by the whole of this ftrange 
tranfaftion, that an attempt to improve it produces refift- 
ance ; the refiftance produces fubmiffion ; and the whole 
ends in penfion *. 

It is nearly the fame with the revenues of the duchy of 
Lancafter. To do nothing with them is extindtion; to 
improve them is oppreffion. Indeed, the whole of the 
eftates which fupport thefe minor principalities, is made 
up, not of revenues, and rents, and profitable fines, but of 
claims, of pretenfions, of vexations, of litigations. They 
arc exchequers of unfrequenf receipt, and conftant charge; 
a fyftem of finances not fit for an ceconomift who would 
be rich ; not fit for a prince who would govern his fubjeds 
with equity and jufticc. 

It is not only between prince and fubjedt; that th-efe mock 
jurifdidlions, and mimic revenues, produce great fuifchief. 

* Here lord North ihook his head, and told thofe who fat near him, that Mr. 
Probcrt's penfion was to depend on his fuccefs. It may be fo. Mr. Probert's penfioR 
was, however, noeflcntial part of the queftion; nor did Mr. B. care' whether he ftfll 
poflefled it or not His point was, to ihew the ridicule of atteikipting an improvement t^f 
ibe Welih revenue under its prefent efiaUifhment. 

They 



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CECONOMI.CAL REFORM. 201 

"They excite among the people a fpirit of informing, and 
delating ; a fpirit of fupplanting and undermining one an- 
other. So that many in fuch circumftances, conceive it ad- 
vantageous to them, rather .to continue fubje<f;t to vexation 
themfelves, than to give up the means and chance of vex- 
ing others. It is exceedingly common for men to contrail 
their love to their country, into an attachment to its petty 
fubdivifions ; and they fometimes even cling to their pro*.- 
vincial abufes, as if they were franchifes, and local privi- 
leges. Accordingly, in places where there is much of this 
kind of eftate, perfons will be always found, who would ra- 
ther truft to their talents in recommending themfelves to 
power for the renewal of their interefts, than to incumber 
their purfes, though never fo lightly, in order to tranfmit 
independence to their pofterity. It is a great miftake, that 
the defire of fecuring property is univerfal among mankind. - 
Gaming is a principle inherent in human nature. It be- 
longs to us all. I would therefore break thofe tables; I 
would furnifh no evil occupation for that fpirit. I would 
make every man look every where, except to the intrigue 
of a court, for the improvement of his circumftances, or 
the fecurity of his fortune. I have in my eye a very ftrong 
cafe in the duchy of Lancafter (which lately occupied Weft- 
minfter-hall, and the houfe of lords) as my voucher for 
many of thefe refleftions *. 

. For what plaufible reafon are thefe principalities fufiere^ 
to exift ? When a government is rendered complex (which 
in itfelf is no delirable thing) it ought to be for fome poli- 
tical end, which cannot be anfwered otherwiile. Subdivi- 
lions in government, are only admiflible in favour of the 
dignity of inferior princes, and high nobility ; or for the 

* Cafe of Richard Lee, £fq. appellant, againflr George VenaUes Lord Vernon, re> 
fjmufent^ in the year 1776. 

Vol. II. D d fupport 



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20« SPEECH ON THE 

fupport of an ariftocradc confederacy under feme head ; or 
for the confervatioa of the franchifes of the peo^e in fome 
privileged province. For the two former of thefe ends, 
fuch are the fubdivifions in favour of the e)e6^oraI) and 
other princes in the empire ; for the latter of thefe pur- 
pofes, are the jurifdi6tions of the imperial cities, and the 
Hanfe towns. For the latter of thefe ends are alfo the 
countries of the States \_Pais d'Etats] and certain cities, and 
orders in France. Thefe ate all regulations with an object, 
and fome of them with a very good object. But how arc 
the principles of any of thefe fubdivifions applicable in the 
cafe before us ? 

Do they anfwer any purpofe to the king ? The principa- 
lity of Wales was given by patent to Edward the Black 
Prince, on the ground on which it has tince ftood. — Lord 
Coke fagacioufty obferves upon it, ** That in the charter of 
** creating the Black Prince Edward prince of Wales, there 
*• is z, great tnyjlery-^ior lefs than an eftate of inheritance, 
" fo great a prince could not have, and an abjchite eftate of 
** inheritance in fo great a principality as Wades (this prin- 
" cipality being Jo dear to him) he Jbauld not have ; and 
*^» therefore it was vaa^ftbi et ber^diims Juts regibus Anglia^ 
« that by.his deceafe, or attaining to the Cfown, it might be 
** extinguifhed in the arown.** 

For the fake of this foolifti myftervt of what a great prince 
could not have /p/x, znA/botdd not have fo much, of a princi- 
pality which was too dear to be given, and too great to be 
kept — and f(» no other caufe that ever I could find — this 
forin and fhadow of a principality, without any ftil^ance> 
has been maintained. That you may jtidge in this inftance 
(and it fcrves fcMr the reft) of the difference between a great 
and a little oeconomy, you will pleafe to recoUeft> Sk, that 
Wales may be abo\it the tenth part of Englafid in liae and. 
4 population;: 



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(ECONOMICAL REFORM. ^^ 

population ; and certainly not a hundredth part in opulence. 
Twelve judges perform the nvhole of the bufinefs, botih of 
the ftationarf and the itinerant juftice of this kingdom ; 
but for Wales, there are eight judges. There is in Wales 
an exchequer, as well as in all the duchies, according to the 
very heft and moft authentic abfurdity of form. There are 
in all of them, a hundred more dif&cult trifles and laborious 
fooleries, which ferve no other purpofe than to keep altire 
corrupt hope and fervile dependence. 

Thefe principalities are fo far from contributing to the 
eafe of the king, to hi« wealth, or his dignity, that they ren- 
der both his iupreme and his fubordinate authority^ per- 
feftly ridiculous. It was but the other day^ that thait pert, 
factious feilow, the duke of Lancafter, prefiimed to fly in 
the face of his liege lord, our gracious ibvereign ; and Oj^ 
r/tf/^^ with a parcel of lawyers as fa<Stiou$ as himfelf, to 
the deftruiStion of all /aw and order, and in committees lead- 
ing direSfly to rebellion — prefumcd to go to law with the 
king. The object is neither your bufinefs, nor mine. Whi<ik 
of the parties got the better, I really forget. I think it was 
(as 4t ought to be) the king. The materisd point is, that 
the ftiit coft about fifteen thousand pounds. But as the 
duke of Lancafter is but a fort of duike Humpbreyy and not 
•worth a groat, our fovereign was obliged to pay the oofts of 
both. Indeed this art of converting a great monarch int« 
a little prince, this royal mafqucrading, i« a very dangierons 
and expenfive amufement; and one of the kin^s mentes 
ilaifirSs which ought to be rcfonned. Thi« duchy, whi<ih 



aOlf S P E EC H O N T H E 

When Henry the Fourth from that ftair afcended the throne^ 
high-minded as he was, he was not willing to kick, away 
.the ladder. To prevent that principality from being ex- 
tinguilhed in the crown, he feviered it by a<St of parliament. 
He had a motive, fuch as it was ; he thought his title to the 
crown unfound, and his pofleffion infecure. He* therefore 
managed a retreat in his duchy ; which Lord Gok,e calls (I 
do not know why) par multis regnis. He flattered himfelf 
that it was practicable to make a proje<5ting point half way 
down, to break his fall from the precipipe of xoyalty ; as if 
it were poflible for one who had Iqft a kingdpm to keep any 
thing clfe. However, it i§ evident that he thought fo. When 
Henry the Fifth united, by a<a of parliament,- the eftates of 
his mother to the duchy, he had the fame predilection with 
^his father, to the root of his family honours, and the fame 
policy in enlarging the fphere of a ppflible ^•etreat from the 
flippery royalty of the two great crowns be held,, All this 
•was changed by Edward the Fourth. He ha(l no fuch fa- 
mily partialities, and his policy was the reverfe of that of 
Henry the Fourth and Henry the Fifth, He accordingly 
again united the duchy of Lancafter to the crown. But 
when Heqry the Seventh, who cbofe to cpnlider himfelf as 
of the houfe of Lancafter, came to the throne, he brought 
with him the, old pretenfions, and the old politics of that 
houfe. A new adt of parliament, a fecond time, diflevered 
the duchy of Lancafter from the crown; and in; that line 
things . continued until the /ubverfion of the monarchy,, 
when principalities and powers fell along with the throne. 
The duchy of Lancafter muft have been extinguiflied, if 
Cromwell, who began to form ideas of aggrandizing his 
houfe, and railing the feveral branches of it, had not caufed 
the duchy to be again feparated from the common wealtb^ by 
an a<5t of the parliament of thof^ times, . , 

; * What 



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CECONOlVriCAL REFORM. 205 

What partiality, what objects of the politics of the houfe 
of Lancafter, or of Cromwell, has his prefent majefty, or 
his majefty's family? What power have they Within any 
of thefe principalities, which they have not within their 
kingdom I In what manner is the dignity of the nobility 
concerned in thefe principalities ? What rights have the 
fubjeft there, which they have not at leaft equally in every 
other part of the nation. Thefe diftindtions exift for no 
good epd to the king, to the nobility, or to the people,^ 
They ought not to exift at all. If the crown (contrary ta 
its nature, but moft conformably to the whole tenor of the 
advice that has been lately given) fhould fo far forget its 
dignity, as to contend^ that thefe jurifdi<Slions and revenues 
are eftates of private property, I am rather for acting as if 
that groundlefs claim were of fome weight, than for giving 
up that eflential part of the reform. I would value the clear 
income^ and give si clear annuity to the crown, taken, on the 
inedium produce fiDr twenty years,. 

If the crown has any favourite name or title, if the fub-^ 
je<5t has any matter of local accommodation within any of 
thefe jiirifdi^lions, it is meant to preferve them; and ta 
improve them, if any improvement can be fuggefted.^ As 
10 the crown reverfions or titles upon the property of the 
people there, it is propofed to convert them from a fnare 
to their independence, into a relief from their burthens. I 
propofe,. therefore, to unite all the five principalities to the 
crown, and to its ordinary jurifcii(Slion> — to abolilh all thofe 
offices that produce an ufelefs and chargeable feparatioa 
from the body of the people, — to compenfate thofe who da 
Bot hold their offices (if any fuch there are) at the pleafure of 
the crown, — to extinguilh vexatious titles by an a<St of (hbrt 
imitation,— 'to fell thofe unprofitable eftates which fupport 
lafclefs jurifdii5tions, and to turn the tenant-right into a fee,. 

on. 



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ao6 SPEECH ON THE 

on fudi moderate terms as will be better for the ftate than 
its prefent right, and which it is impoflible for any rational 
tenant to rctufe. 

As to the duchies, their judicial oeconomy may be pro- 
vided for without charge. They have only to fall of courfe 
into the common county adminiftration. A commiffion 
more or lefs made or omitted, fettles the matter fully. As 
to Wales it has been propofed to add a judge to the fevcnd 
courts of Weftminfter-hall ; and it has been conlidered as 
an improvement in itfelf. For my part, I cannot pretend 
to fpeak upon it with cleame6 or with deciiion ; but cer- 
tainly this arrangement would be more than fuffident f<x 
Wales. My original thought -was to fuppreis five of the 
eight judges ; and to leave the chief juftice of Ghefter, with 
the two fenior judges; and, to fadUtate the bufinefs, to 
throw the twelTse counties into .-fix <]iifai<5U, holding the 
iefiions ahernateiy in the counties of which each diftri<^ 
fhall be compofed. But cm this I ihali be more dear, when 
I come to the particular bill. 

Sir, the houfe will now <ee whether, in praying for judg- 
ment againit the minor prindpalities, I do not aA in con- 
formity to the laws that I had laid to myfelf, of getting rid 
of every jurifditSion more iubfervient to oppreffion and 
expence, than to any end of juftice or honeft policy; of 
aboli(hing offices more expenfive than ufefiil; of combining 
duties improperly feparated; of changing revenues more 
vexatious than produAive, into ready money; of fuppreffing 
offices which itand in the way of oeconomy ; and . of 
cutting aS lurking fubordinate treafuries. Difpute the 
rules; controvert the s^plication; or give your hands to 
this falutary tmeafure. 

Mcftof the fame rules will be found applicable to my 
iccooA object— /i^ Jasuied ^ate of the crown. A landed 

eftate 



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CECONOMICAL REFORM. 1107 

eftate is certainly the very worft which the crown can- 
poffefs. All minute and difperfed poffeflions, poiiefiions 
that are often of indeterminate value, and which require a 
continued jjerfonal attendance, aire of a nature more proper, 
for private management than pubic adminiftration. — They 
are fitter for the care of a frugal land fteward, than of an 
office in the ftate. Whatever they may poffibly have been 
in other times, or in other countries, they are not of mag- 
nitude enough with us, to occupy a public department, 
nor to provide for a public objedt. They are already given 
up to parliament, and the gift is not of great value. Com> 
mon prudence dilates, even in the management of private 
afiairs, that all difperfed and chargeable eftates, fhould be 
facrificed to the relief of eftates more compadt and better 
circumftanced. 

If it be obje<5bed, that thefe lands at prefent would fell 
at a low market ; this is anfwered, by (hewing that money 
is at high price. The one balances the other. Lands felf 
at the current rate, and nothing can fell for more. But be 
the price what it may, a great object is always anfwered, 
whenever any property is transferred from hands that are 
not fit for that property, to thofe that are. The buyer 
and feller muft mutually profit by fuch a bargain ; and, 
what rarely happens in matters of revenue, the relief of 
the fi^jedt will go hand in hand with the profit of the 
eicchequer. 

As to the foreft lands, in which the crown has (where 
they arc not granted or prefcriptively held) the dominion of 
the fi»i^ and the vert and venifon ; that is to fay, the timber 
and the game, and in which the people have a variety of 
rights, in common of herbage, and other commons, acccNrd- 
ing to the ufage of the ieveral foreffcs;.— I propofe to have 
thoie rights of the csown valued as manerial rights are 

valued 



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3o8 SPEECH ON THE 

valued on an inclofure ; and a defined portion of land to 
be given for them^ which land is to be fold for the public 
benefit* 

As to the timber, I propofe a furvey of the -whole. What 
is ufelefs for the naval purpofes of the kingdom, I would 
•condemn, and difpofe of for the fecurity of what may be 
\ifeful ; and to inclofe fuch other parts as may be moft fit 
to furnifti a perpetual fupply ; wholly extinguiftiing, for a 
very obvioys reafon, all right of vefti/on in thofe parts. 

The foreft rigbts which extend over the lands and pof- 
feffions of others, being of no profit to the crown, and a 
grievance as far as it goes to the fubje<5t ; thefe I propofe to 
extinguilh without chM-ge to the proprietors. The feveral 
commons are to be allotted and compenfated for, upon 
ideas which I fhall hereafter explain. They are nearly the 
fame with the jMinciples upon which you have adted in 
private inclofures. I ihall never quit precedents where I 
find them applicable. For thofe regulations and compenfa- 
tions, and for every other part of the detail, you will be fo 
indulgent as to give me credit for the prefent. 

The revenue to be obtained from the fale qf the foreft 
lands and rights, will not be fo confiderable, I believe, as 
many people have imagined ; and I conceive it would be 
xmwife to fcrew it up to the utmoft, or even to fuflfer bid- 
ders to inhance, according to their eagemefs, the purchafe 
of objedts, wherein the expence of that purchafe may 
weaken the capital to be employed in their cultivation. 
This, I am well aware, might give room for partiality in 
the difpofaL In my opinion it would be the leffer evil of. 
the two. But I really conceive, that a rule of fair pre- 
ference might be eftablifhed, which would take away all 
fort of unjuft and corrupt partiality. The principal revenue 
which I propofe to draw from thefe uncultivated waftes, is 

to 



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CECONOMICAL REFORM. 009 

to fpring from the improvement and population of the 
kingdom ; which never can happen, without producing an 
improvement more advantageous to the revenues of the 
crown, than the rents of the beft landed eftate which it can 
hold, I believe, Sir, it will hardly be neceflary for me to 
add, that in this fale I naturally except all the houfes, gar- 
dens, and parks belonging to the crown, and fuch one 
foreft as (hall be chofen by his majefty, as beft accommo- 
dated to his pleafures. 

By means of this part of the reform, will fall the expen- 
five office of furveyor general^ with all the influence that 
attends it/ By this will fall two chief jujiices in Eyre^ with 
all their train of dependents. You need be under no appre- 
heniion, Sir, that your office is to be touched in its emolu- 
ments ; they are yours by law; and they are but a moderate 
part of the compenfation which is given to you for the 
ability with which you execute an office of quite anothe^^ 
fort of importance ; it is far from over-paying your dili- 
gence ; or more than fufficient for fuftaining the high rank 
you ftand in, as the firft gentleman of England. As to the 
duties of your chief jufticefliip, they are very different from 
thofe for which you have received the office. Your dignity 
is too high for a jurifdidlion over wild beafts ; and your 
learning and talents too valuable to be wafted as chief 
jufliice of a defert. I cannot reconcile it to myfelf, that 
you. Sir, Ihould be ftiuck up as a ufelefs piece of anti- 
quity. 

I have now difpofed of the unprofitable landed eftates of 
the crown, and thrown them into the mafs of private pro- 
perty; by which they will come, through the courfe of 
circulation, and through the political fecretions of the ftate, 
into our better underftood and better ordered revenues. 

Icome next to the great fupreme body of the civil go- 
VoL. II. E e vernment 



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210 SPEECH ON THE 

vernment itfelf, I approach it with that awe and reverence 
with which a young phyfician approaches to the cure of 
the diforders of his parent. Diforders, Sir, and infirmities, 
there are — fuch diforders, that all attempts towards method, 
prudence, and frugality, will be perfectly vain, whilft a 
fyftem of confufion remains, which is not only alien but 
adverfe to all oeconomy ; a fyftem, which is not only pro- 
digal in its very eflence, but caufes every thing elfe which 
belongs to it, to be prodigally conducted. 

It is impoffible. Sir, for any perfon to be an oeconomift 
where no order in payments is eftablifhed ; it is impoiEble 
for a man to be an oeconomift, who is not able to take a 
comparative view of his means, and of his expences, for 
the year which lies before him ; it is impoffible for a man 
to be an oeconomift, under whom various officers in their 
feveral departments may fpend, — even juft what they pleafe^ 
— and often with an emulation of expence, as contributing 
to the importance, if not profit, of their feveral depart- 
ments .~Tlras much is certain ; that neither the prefent^ 
nor any other firft lord of the treafury, has been ever able 
to take a furvey, or to make even a tolerable guefs, of the 
expences of government for any one year ; fo as to enable 
him with the leaft degree of certainty, or even probability^ 
to bring his affairs within compafs. Whatever fcheme may 
be formed upon them, muft be made on a calculation 
of chances. As things are circumftanced, the firft lord of 
the treafury cannot make an eftimate. I am fure, I ferve 
the king, and I am fure I affift adminiftration, by putting 
ceconomy at leaft in their power. • We muft clafs fervices ; 
we muft (as far as their nature admits) appropriate funds j 
or every thing however reformed, will fall again into the 
old confufion. 

Coming upon this ground of the civil lift, the^ firft thing 
4 ia 



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(ECONOMICAL REFORM. an 

in dignity and charge that attraAs our notice, is the royal 
boujebold. This eftabliftiment, in my opinion, is exceed- , 
ingly abufive in its conftitution. It is formed uix)n man- 
ners and cuftoms, that have long fince expired. In the firft 
place, it is formed, in many refpedts, upon feudal principles. 
In the feudal times, it was not uncommon, even among fub- 
je<St8, for the loweft offices to be held by confiderable per- 
fons ; perfons as unfit by their incapacity, as improper from 
their rank, to occupy fuch employments. They were held 
by patent, fometimes for life, and fometimes by inheritance. 
If my memory does not deceive me, a perfon of no flight 
coniideration, held the office of patent hereditary cook to 
an earl of Warwick — ^Thc earl of Warwick*s foups, I fear, 
were not the better for the dignity of his kitchen. I think 
it was an earl of Gloucefter, who officiated as fteward of the 
hotiiehold to the archbifhops of Canterbury. Inftances of 
the fame kind may in fome degree be found in the Nor- 
thumberland houfe-book, and other family records. There 
was fome reafon in antient neceffities, for thefe antient 
cuftoms. Protection was wanted; and the domeftic tie, 
though not the higheft, was the doieft. 

The king*s houfehold has not only feveral ftrong traces 
of this feudality^ but it is formed alfo upon the princii^es 
of 7i body corporate \ it has its own magiftrates, 'courts, and 
by-laws. This might be neceffiiry in the antient times, in 
order to have a government within itfelf, capable of reguw 
fating the raft and often unruly multitude which compofed 
and attended it. This was the origin of the antient court 
called the Green C/o/i6— compofed of the marfhal, treafurcr, 
and other great officers of the houfehc^, with certain 
clerks. The rich fubje<5ts of th€ kingdom, who had for- 
merly the fame eftablifhments (only on a reduced fcale) 
have fince altered their oeconomy; »}d turned thecourfe 

£ e z of 



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21Z SPEECHON THE 

of their expence from the maintenance of vaft eftablifti- 
ments within their walls, to the employment of a great 
variety of independent trades abroad. Their influence is 
leflened; but a mode of accommodation and a ftyle of 
fplendour, fuited to the manners of the times, has been 
encreafed. Royalty itfelf has infenlibly followed ; and the 
royal houfehold has been carried away by the reliftlefs tide 
of manners : but with this very material difference. Private 
men have got rid of the eftablifliments along with the 
reafons of them ; whereas the royal houfehold has loft all 
that was llately and venerable in the antique manners, 
without retrenching any thing of the cumbrous charge of a 
Gothic eftablifliment. It is fhrunk into the polifhed little- 
nefs of modern elegance and perfonal accommodation ; it 
has evaporated from the grofs concrete, into an effence and 
rectified fpirit of expence, where you have tuns of antient 
pomp in a vial of modern luxury. 

But when the reafon of old eftablifliments is gone, it is» 
abfurd to preferve nothing but the burthen of them. This 
is fuperftitioufly to embalm a carcafs not worth an ounce of 
the glims that are ufed to preferve it. It is to burn precious^ 
oils in the tomb ; it is to offer meat and drink to the dead, — 
not fo much an honour to the deceafed, as a difgrace to the, 
furvivors. Our palaces are vaft inhofpitable halls. There 
the bleak winds, there " Boreas, and Eurus, and Caurus,, 
" and Argeftes loud,'' howling through the vacant lobbies,, 
and clattering the doors of deferted guard-rooms, appgl 
the imagination, and conjure up the grim fpeiStres of de- 
parted tyrants — the Saxon, the Norman, and the Daiie;. 
the ftern Edwards and fierce Henries — who ftalk from defo- 
lation to defolation, through the dreary vacuity, and me- 
lancholy fucceffion of chill and comfortlefs chambers. 
When this tumult fubfides, a dead^ and ftill more frightful 

filence 



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OE C O N O M I C A L REFORM. 2rj 

filence would reign in this defert, if every now and then 
the tacking of hammers did not announce, that thofe con- 
ftant attendants upon all courts in all ages, Jobs, were ftill 
alive ; for whofe fake alone it is, that any trace of antient 
grandeur is fufFered to remain. Thefe palaces are a true 
emblem of fome governments ; the inhabitants are decayed^, 
but the governors and magiftrates ftill flourifh. They put 
me in mind of Old Sarum^ where the reprefentatives, more 
in number than the conftituents, only ferve to inform us,, 
that this was once a place of trade, and founding with " the. 
^^ bufy hum of men," though now you can only trace the 
ftreets by the colour of the corn j and its £ble manufacture^ 
is in members of parliament.. 

Thefe old eftabliftiments were formed alfo on a third 
principle, ftill more adverfe to the living oeconomy of the 
age. They were formed^ Sir, on the principle of purvey- 
anc£y and receipt in kind. In former days, when the houfe- 
hold was vaft, and the fupply fcanty and precarious, the 
royal purveyors, fallying forth from under the gothic port- 
cullis, to purchafe provifion with power and prerogative,, 
inftead of money, brought home the plunder of an hun- 
dred markets^ and aH that could be feized from a flying and 
hiding country, and depoftted their fpoil in an hundred ca- 
verns, with each its keeper. There, every commodity, re- 
ceived in its raweft condition, went through all the procefs 
which fitted it for ufe. This inconvenient receipt produced 
an oeconomy fuited only to itfelf. It multiplied offices be- 
yond all meafure; buttery, pantry, and all that rabble of 
places, which, though profitable to the holders and expen- 
five to the ftate, are ahnoft too mean to mention.. 

All this might be, and I believe was neceflary at firft ; for 
it is remarkable, that purveyance^ after its regulation had. 
been the fubjeft of a long liae of ftatutes (not fewer, 1 think,, 

than; 



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»i4 SPEECH ON THE 

than twenty'-fix) was wholly taken away by the twelfth of 
Xlharles the Second ; yet in the next year of the fame reign^ 
it was found neceffary to revive it by a fi:)ecial aft of parlia*- 
ment, for the fake of the king's journies. This, Sir, is cu« 
rious ; and what would liardly be expected in fo reduced a 
court as that of Charles the Second, and in fo improved a 
country as England might then be thought. But fo it was* 
In our time, one well filled and weU covered ftage coach, 
requires more accommodation than a royal progrefs ; and 
every diftricSi at an hour's warning, can fupply an army. 

1 do not fay. Sir, that all thefe eftabli(hments whofe prin- 
, ciple is gone, have been fyftematically kept up for influence 
iblely : negiedt had its (hare. But this I am fure of> that .a 
c(Hi(lderation of influence has hindered any one from at- 
tempting to pull them down. For the purpofes of in- 
fluence^ and for thofe purpofes only, are retained half at 
leafl of the houfehold eftabUfliments. No revenue, no not 
a royal revenue, can exift under the accumulated charge of 
antient eflabliihment ; modern luxury; and parliamentary 
pc^itical corruption. 

If therefore we aim at regulating this houfehold^ the 
queilion will be, whether we ought to oeconomize by ^/i»y, 
or by principle f The example we have had of the fuccels 
of an attempt to ceconomize by detail, and under eftabli£h> 
xnents adverfe to the attempt, may tend to decide this 
queflion. 

At the beginning of his majefty's reign, Lond Talbot came 
to the adminiflration of a great department in the houfe- 
hold. I believe no man ever Altered into his m^efty's fer* 
vice, or into- the fervice of any prince, with a more dear 
integrity, or with more zeal and affection for the interefl of 
his mafler; and I mufl add, with abilities for a fliU higher 
fervice. GEconomy was then announced -as a maxim of the 

reign. 



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CECONOMTGAL REFORM. ai^ 

reign. This noble lord, therefore, made feveral attempts 
towards a reform. In the year 1777, when the king*s civil 
lift debts came laft to be paid, he explained very fully the 
fuccefs of his undertaking. He told the houfe of lords, that 
he had attempted to reduce the charges of the king*s tables, 
and his kitchen. — The thing, Sir, was not below him. He 
knew, that there is nothing interefting in the concerns of 
men, whom we love and honour, that is beneath our atten- 
tion. — ** Love,** fays one of our old poets, ** efteems ntf 
" office mean -y^ and with ftill more fpirit, ** entire afFeAion; 
«* feorneth nicer hands." Frugality, Sir, is founded on the 
principle, that all riches have limits. A royal houfehold, 
grown enormous, even in the mtaneft departments, may 
weaken and perhaps deftroy all energy in the highcft officer 
of the ftate. The gorging a royal kitchen may ftint and 
famifh the negotiations of a kingdom. Therefore, the 
objedk was worthy of his, was worthy of any man's at- 
fentiort. 

Ift confequcrice of this noble lord's refolution, (as he told 
the other houfe) he reduced feveral tables, and pat the per-* 
ibfis entitled to them upon board wages> mxich to their own 
fotisfaftion. But tinltickiiy fubfequent duties requiring 
conftant attendattce, it was not poffible to prevent their be- 
ing fed where they were employed — and thus this flrft ftfep 
toWardd oeconomy doubled the expencer. 

There was another difafter far more doleful than this.^ 1 
ftiall ftate it, as the caufe of that misfortune lies at the bottom 
of almoft all our prodigality. Lord Talbot attempted to re- 
form! the kitithen ; but fuch, ag he well obferved, is the con-^ 
fbquence of having duty done by one perfon^ whilft another 
enjoys the emcduments, that he found himfelf fruftrated in 
all his defigns. On that rock his whole adventure fplit — His 
whole fchemuE of ceconomy was daihed to pieces ; his de- 

* partment 



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2rt SPEECH ONTHE 

partment became more expenlive than ever ; — the civil lift 
debt accumulated — Why ? It was truly from a caufe, which, 
though perfedlly adequate to the effe<St, one would not have 
ififtantly gueffed ; — It was becaufe the turn/pit in the king's 
kitchen was a member of parliament *. The king's domeftic 
fervants were all undone; his tradefmen remained unpaid, 
and became bankrupt — becaufe the turnfpit of the king*s kit- 
chen was a member of parliament. His majefty's flumbers 
were interrupted, his pillow was ftuffed with thorns, and his 
peace of mind entirely broken, — becaufe the king's turnfpit 
was a member of parliament. The judges were unpaid; the 
juftice of the kingdom bent and gave way 5 th^ foreign mi- 
nifters remained inadtive and unprovided; thie fyft^m of 
Europe was diffolved ; the chain of our alliances was 
broken; all the wheels of government at home and abroad 
were flopped \-^becaufe the .king's turnfpit was a member of 
parlijamjent. 

Such, Sir, was the fituation of affairs, and fuch the caufe 
of that fituation, when his majefty came a fecond time to 
parliament, to delire the payment of thofe debts which the 
employment of its members in various offices^ vifible and 
invifible, had occafioned. I believe that a like fate will at- 
tend every attempt at oeconomy by detail, under fimilar cir- 
cumftances, and in every department. A complex operofe 
office of account and controul, is, in itfelf, and even if 
members of parliament had nothing to do with it, the moft 
prodigal of all things* The moft audacious robberies, or 
the moft fubtle frauds, would never venture upon fuch a 
wafte, as an over careful, detailed guard againft them will 
infallibly produce. In bur eftablilhments, we frequently fee 

* Vide Lord Talbot's fpecch in Almotfs Parliamentary Rcgiftcr, vol. vii. p. 79, of 
&t proceedings of the lordsi. 

an 



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CECONOMICAL REFORM. 217 

an c^ce of account, of an hundred pounds a year expence, 
and another office of an equal expence, to controul that 
of&ce, and the whole upon a matter that is not worth twenty 
(hillings. 

To avoid, therefore, this minute care which produces the 
^onfequences of the moft extenfive negleit, and to oblige 
members of parliament to attend to public cares, and not to 
the fervile offices of domeftic management, I propofe, Sir, 
to ceconomize by principle^ that is, I propofe to put affairs 
into that train which experience points out as the moft 
effedtua], from the nature of things, and from the conftitu- 
tion of the human mind. In all dealings where it is poffi- 
ble, the principles of radical oeconomy prefcribe three 
things ; firft, undertaking by the great ; fecondly, engaging 
with perfons of fkiU in the fubjeA matter; thirdly, engaging 
with thofe who ftiall have an immediate and direct intereft 
in the proper execution of the bufinefs. 

To avoid frittering and crumbling down the attention by 
a blind unfyftematic obfervance of every trifle, it has ever 
been found the heft way, to do all things, which are gi:eat 
in the total amount, and minute in the component parts, 
by z general contraSI. The principles of trade have fo per- 
vaded every fpecies of dealing, from the higheft to the 
loweft objefls ; all tranfadions are got fo much into fyftem; 
that we may, at a moment's warning, and to a farthing 
value, be informed at what rite any fervice may be fupplied* 
No dealing is exempt from the poffibility of fraud. But by 
a contraiSt on a matter certain, you have this advantage— 
you are fure to know the utmoft extent of the fraud to 
which you are fubjedt. By a contract with a perfon in bis 
own irade^ you are fure you fliall not fuffer by want of Jkilh 
By a Jbort contradl you are fure of making it the inter ejl of 

Vol. II. F f the 



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diS SPEECH ON THE 

the contraftor to exert that fkill for the fatisfa<5tion of hi? 
employers. 

I mean to derogate nothing from the diligence or integrity 
of the prefent, or of any former board of green-cloth. 
But what ikill can members of parliament obtain in that 
low kind of province > What pleafure can they have in the 
execution of tiiat kind of duty ? And if they (hould neglefl: 
it, how does it afFedt their intereft, when we know that it 
is their vote in parliament, and not their diligence in 
cookery or catering, that recommends them to their office, 
or keeps them in it ? 

I therefore propofe, that the king's tables (to whatever 
immber of tables, or covers to each, he fhall think proper 
to command) fhould be clafled by the fteward of the houfe- 
hold, and fliould be contra<^ed for, according to their rank, 
by the head or cover; — that the eftimate and circumftance 
of the contradt fliouW be carried to the treafury to be ap- 
proved ; and that its faithful and latisfadlory performance 
fhould be reported there, previous to any payment ; that 
there, apd there only, fhould the payment be made. I 
propofe, that men fhould be contrafted with only in their 
proper trade ; and that no member of parliament fhould be 
capable of fuch contradl. By this plan, almoft all the in- 
finite offices under the lord fteward may be fpared; to 
the extreme flmplification, and to the far better execution, 
of every one of his fun<9ion8. The king of Pruflia is €o 
ferved. He is a great and. eminent (though indeed a very 
rare) inftance of the poffibility of uniting in a mind of 
tigour and compafs, an attention to minute objedts, with 
the largeft views, and the mofl compiicated plans. Hi» 
rabies are ferved by contra<ft, and by the head. Let me 
fay, that ik> prince can be afharaed to imitate the king of 

Pniffiaj 



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CEGONOMICAL HEFORM. S19 

Pmffia ; and particularly to leam in his fchoal, ^sfbtn the 
problem is — ** The beft manner of recondliog the ftafe of 
«i a court with the ftrjjport of war r Other coartt, I xm-f 
derftand, have followed him with effeft, and to their fatif^ 
i&iStion. 

The fame due of principle leads us through the lahy- 
rinth of the other departments. What» Sir» is there in the 
office of ibe great ^oardrobe (which has the care of the 
king's furniture) that may not be executed hj the iord 
cbamisriain bimjelff He has an honourable appointment ; 
he has time fufficient to attend to the dut^ ; and he has the 
-vice chamherhiin to affift him. Why ihould not he ded 
adfi) by contract, for all things belonging to this office, and 
cany his eftimates firft, and his report of the execution in 
its proper time, for payment, dirediy to the baard of tiva- 
fury itielf ? Bf a iim^e operation (containing in it a treble 
control) the expences of a department, -which for naked 
xralls, or waQs hung with cobwebs, has in a £ew years co£k 
the crown £, r5o,ooo, may at length hope for r^;!Uiiation. 
Sut, Sir, the office and its bufxnefs are aJt \rairiance. As it 
ftands, it ferves, not to furnifti the palace with its hangiiigs, 
but the parliament wkh its dependent members. ' 

TOf what end, Sir, does the office of removing iioardtobt 
fctve at all? Why Ihould vl j£iioei office cxifb for the fole 
purpofe of taxing the king's gifts of plate ? Its ob^eiSt falls' 
naturally within the cbamberlaM^ province ; aad ought to 
be under his care and inipe<5ticRi, without atny fee. Why 
Ihould an office of the roites exift, when' that of groom of 
tbe ftoie is a finecure, and that this is a proper obje^ of his 
department ? 

All thefe incumbrances, which arc themfelves nufances^ 
produce other incumbrances, atnd othor nuiances. For the 
payment of thefe ufelefs eftabKlhments, tlvere are no lefs 

F f 2 than 



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210 S P E E CLH ON THE 

than tbree ufelefs treafurers ; two to hold a purfe, and one 
to play with a ftick* The treafurer of the houfehold is a 
mere name. The cofferer, and the treafurer of the cham- 
ber, receive and pay great fums, which it is not at all 
neceflary tbey fliould either receive or pay. All the proper 
officers, fervants, and tradefmen, may be inrolled in their 
leveral departments, and paid in proper clafles and times 
with great fimplicity and order, at the exchequer, and by di- 
redfion from the treafury. 

The board of works ^ which in the feven years preceding. 
1777, has coft towards £. 400,000 * ; and (if 1 recolledt 
rightly) has not cofl: lefs in proportion from the beginning 
of the reign, is under the very fame defcription of all the 
other ill-contrived eftablifhments, and calls for the very 
fame reform. We are to feek for the vilible iigns of all this 
expence. — For all this expence, we do not fee a building 
of the fize and importance of a pigeon-houfe. Bucking- 
ham-houfe was reprifed by a bargain with the public, for 
one hundred thoufand pounds; — and the fmall houfe at 
Windfor has been, if I miflake not, undertaken fince that 
account was brought before us. The good works of that 
board of works, are as carefully concealed as othfcr good 
works ought to be; they are perfectly invifible. But 
though it is the perfection of charity to be concealed, it is. 
Sir, the property and glory of magnificence, to appear, and 
ftand forward to the eye. 

That board, which ought to be a concern of builders, and 
fuch like, and of none elfe, is turned into a junto of mem- 
bers of parliament. That office too has a treafury^ and a 
paymafter of its own ; and left the arduous affairs of that, 
important exchequer fhould be too fatiguing, that paymafter 
has a deputy to partake his profits, and relieve hisi cares. I do 

• More exaftly )C'378>6i6. 10;. id. J. . . 

not 



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CECONOMICAL REFORM. 221 

not believe, that'eithernow or in former times, the chief 
managers of that board have made any profit of its abufe. 
It is, however, no good reafon that an abufive eftablilhment 
Ihould fubfift, becaufe it is of as little private as of public 
advantage. But this eftablifhment has the grand radical 
fault, the original lin^ that pervades and perverts all our 
eftablifhments ; — the apparatus is not fitted to the objedt, 
nor the workmeu to the work. Expences are incurred 
on the private opinion of an inferior eftablifliment, with- 
out confulting the principal; who can alone determine 
the proportion which it ought to bear to the other efta- 
blilhments of the ftate, in the order of their relative im- 
I)ortance. 

I propofe, therefore, along with the reft, to pull down 
this whole ill-contrived fcafFolding, which obftrufts, ra- 
ther than forwards our public works; to take away its 
treafury ; to put the whole into the hands of a real builder, 
who fhall not be a member of parliament ; and to oblige 
him by a previous eftimate and final payment, to appear 
twice at the treafury, before the public can be loaded. Th* 
king's gardens are to come under a fimilar regulation. 

The minty though not a department of the houfehold, 
has the fame vices. It is a great expence to the nation, 
chiefly for the fake of members of parliament. It has its 
officers of parade and dignity. It has its treafury too. It 
is a fort of corporate body ; and formerly was a body of 
great importance ; as much fo on the then fcale of things, 
and the then order of bufinefs, as the bank is at this day. 
It was the great center of money tranfa<Stions and remit- 
tances for our own, and for other nations ; until king 
Charles> the firft, among other arbitrary projects, di<Slated 
by defpotic neceffity, made him withhold the money that 
lay there for remittance. That blow (and happily too) the 

mint 



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aa« SPEECH ON THE 

mint never recovered. Now it is no bank; no remittance* 
ihop. The mint, Sir, is a manufaSlure^ and it is nothing 
elfe; and it ought to be vmdertakea upoa the principles 
of a mannfadiure ; that is, for the beft and cheapeft execu- 
tion, by a contract, upon proper fecurities, and under proper 
regulations. 

The artillery is a far greater obje<fl ; it is a militarf con- 
cern; but haying an affinity and kindred. in its defe<fi8 
with the .eftablilhments I am now fpeaking of, I think it 
beft to fpeak of it along with them. It is, I cooceive, an 
eftabli^ment not well fuited to its martial^ though exceed- 
in^y well calculated for its parliamentary purpofes.— Here 
there is a treafury, as in all the other inferior departments 
of government. Here the military is fubordinate to the 
civil, and the naval confounded with the land fervice. . The 
flJ3Je<St indeed is much the fame in both. But when the 
detail is examined, it will be found that they iiad better bo 
feparated. For a reform of this office, I propoie to re^oore 
things; to what (all coniiderations taken together) is their 
jjatural order; to reftore them to their juft proportion, and 
to their juft diftribution. I propofe, in this military con- 
cern, to render the civil fubordinate to the military; and 
this wiJl annihilate the greateft part of the expence, and all 
the influence belonging to the office. I propofe to fend the; 
military branch to the army, and the naval to the admiral- 
ty : and I intend to perfea and accomplifli the whole detail 
(where it becomes too minute and complicated for legiila- 
ture, and requires exad", official, 4,nilitary, and mechanical 
knowledge) by a commiffion of competent officers in botk 
departments. I propofe to execute by contraA,^ what by 
contra<a can be executed; and to bring, as much a« poffible,, 
all eftimates to be previoully approved, and finally to be 
paid by the treafiiry. 

Thus, 



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CECONOMICAL REFORM. ^3 

Thtis, by fbllotving the conrfe of nature, and not the 
jnirpofes of politics, or the acctimnlated patchwork of occa- 
iional accommodation, this vaft expenlive department may 
be niethodized; its fervice pnoporrioned to its neceflities, 
and its payments fubjedled to the infpe<^ion of the fiipcrior 
minifter of finance ; who is to judge of it on the refult of 
the total colle<Slive exigencies of the ftate. This laft is a 
reigning principle through my whole plan; and it is a 
principle which I hope may hereafter be applied to other 
plans. 

By thefe regulations taken together — befides the three 
fubofdinate treafuries in the lefler principalities, five other 
fubordinate treafurie? are fupprefled. There is taken away 
the whole eftabli/hment of detail in the houfehold ; the trea^ 
Jurer\ — the comptroller (for a comptroller is hardly neceflary 
where there is no treafurer) the cofferer of the boufebold\ — 
the treafurer of the chamber \ — the majler of the houfehold \ — 
the whole board of green cloth ; — and a vaft number of fub- 
ordinate offices in the department of xhtjleward of the houfe^ 
i&^^;— ^the whole eftablifhment of the great wardrobe ;— the 
removing wardrobe ; — the jewel office ;— the robe5\ — the board 
of works \ almoft the whole charge of the civil branch of the 
board of ordnance are taken away. All thefe arrangements 
together will be found to relieve the nation from a vaft 
weight of influence, without diftreffing, bilt rather by for- 
warding every public fervice. . When fomething of this 
kind is done, then the public may begin to breathe. Un- 
der other governments, a queftion of expence is only a 
queftion of oeconomy, and it is nothing more ; with us irt 
every queftion of expence, there is always a mixtinre of con- 
ftitntidnal confiderations. 

It is. Sir, becaufie 1 wifh to keep this bufinefs of lubordU 

^ nate treafuries as much as I can together, that 1 brought the 

S ordnance^ 



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224 SPEECH ON THE 

ordnance-office before you, though it is properly a military 
department. For the fame reafon I will now trouble you 
with my thoughts and propofitidns upon two of the greateft 
under treafuriesy I mean the office of paymafier of the land 
forces^ or treajurer of the army ; and that of the treafurer of 
the navy. The former of thefe has long been a great objedt 
of public fufpicion and uneafinefs. Envy too has had its 
fliare in the obloquy which is caft upon this ofKce. But I 
am fure that it has no fhare at all in the reflections I Ihall 
make upon it, or in the reformations that I Ihall propqfe. I 
do not grudge to the honourable gentleman who at prefent 
holds the office^ any of the effecSls of his talents, his merit, 
or his fortune. He is refi)e6table in all thefe particulars. I 
follow the conftitution of the office, without perfecuting its 
holder. It is neceffary, in all matters of public complaint, 
where men frequently feel right and argue wrong, to fepa- 
rate prejudice from reafon; and to be very fure, in attempt- 
ting the redrefs of a grievance, that we hit upon its real feat, 
and its true nature. Where there is an abufe in office, the 
firft thing that occurs in heat is to penfure the officer. Our 
natural difpolition leads all our enquiries rather to perfons 
than to things. But this prejudice is to be corrected by 
maturer thinking. 

Sir, the profits of the pay-office (as an office) are not too 
great, in my opinion, for its duties, and for the rank of the 
perfon who has generally held it. He has been generally a 
perfon of the higheft rank ; that is to fay, a perfon of emi- 
nence and confideration in this houfe. The great and the in- 
vidious prjofits of the pay-office, are from the bank that is held 
in it. According to the prefent courfe of the office, and ac- 
cording to the prefent mode of accounting there, this bank 
muft neceflarily exift fomewhere. Money is a produdlive 
thing; and when the ufual time of its demand can be 

tolerably 



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OECONDMICAL reform. 21S 

tolerably calculated, it may, with prudence, be fafely laid 
out to the profit of the holder. It is on this Calculation, 
that the bufinefs of banking proceeds. But no profit can 
be derived from the ufe of money, which does not make it 
the intereft of the hokler to delay his account. The pro- 
cefs of the exchequer colludes with this interefl. Is this 
coUufion from its want of rigour and ftridlnefs, and great 
regularity of form ? The reverfe is true* They have in the 
exchequer brought rigour and formalifm to their ultimate - 
perfection. The procefs againft accountants is fo rigorous, 
and in a manner lb unjuft, that correctives muft, from time 
to time, be applied to it. Thefe correctives being difcre- 
tionary, upon the cafe, and generally remitted by the barons 
to the lords of the treafury, as the beft judges of the reafons 
for reipite, hearings are had ; delays are produced ; and thus 
the extreme of rigour in office (as ufual iii all human af- 
fairs) leads to the extreme of laxity. What with the inte-. 
i*efted delay of the officer ; the ill-conceived exadlnefs of the 
court ; the applications for difpenfations from that exaCtnefs;^ 
the revival of rigorous procefs, after the expiration of the 
'time; and the new rigours producing new applications, and 
new enlargements of time, fuch delays happen in the public 
accounts, that they can fcarcely ever be clofed. 
• Befides, Sir, they have a rule in the exchequer, which, I 
believe, they have founded u]3on a very antient ftatute, that 
of the 51ft of Henry III. by Avhich it is provided, *^ That 
« when a fherifF or bailiff hath began his account^ none 
" other fhall be received to account until he tliat was 
" firft appointed hath clearly accounted, and that the.fuxn 
^ has been received *." Whether this claufe of that ftatute^ 

* Et quant vifcount ou bailllfF ait commence de accompter, nul autre ne feit refceu dc 
acconter tanque le primer qe foit affis^ eh peraccompte, et qe la femme-Tok refceu. Stau 
5^ ann. dom. 1266. 

Vol. II. G g be 



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2a6 SPEECH ON THE 

be the ground of tliat abfurd praiSWce, 1 am not quite able 
to afcertain. But it has very generally prevailed, though I 
am told that of late they have began to relax from it. In 
confequence of forms adverfe to fubftantial account, we have 
a long 'fucceffion of paymaftcrs and their reprefentatives, 
who have never been admitted to account, although perfedly 
ready to do fo. 

As the extent of our wars has fcattered the accountants 
Tinder the pay m after into every part of the globe, the grand 
and fure paymafter. Death, in all his fliapes, calls thefe ac- 
countants to another reckoning. Death, indeed, domineers 
over every thing,, but the forms of the exchequer. Over 
thefe he has no power. They are impaffive and immortal. 
The audit of the exchequer, more fevere than the audit to 
which the accountants are gone, demands proofs which in 
the nature of things are difficult, fometimes impoffible to be 
had. In. this refpecSt too, rigour, as ufual, defeats itfelf. 
Then, the exchequer never gives a particular receipt, or 
dears a man of his account, as far as it goes. A final ac- 
quittance, (or a quietuSf as they term it) is fearcely ever to 
be obtained. Terrors and ghofts of unlaid accountants, 
haunt the houfes of their children fi*om generation to gene- 
ration. Families, in tihe courfe of fuccefiion, fall into mi- 
norities; the inheritance comes into the hands of females; 
and very per^exed aiFairs are often delivered over into the 
hands of negligent guardians and faithlefs Rewards. So 
that the demand remains, when the advantage of the money 
is gone, if ever any advantage at all has been made of it» 
This is a caufe of infinite diflrefs to families ; and becomes 
a fource of influence to an extent, that can fearcely be ima- 
gined, but by thofe who have taken fome pains to trace it. 
The mildne£s of government in the employment of ufe- 
5 lei3 



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CECONOMICAL REFORM. 227 

lefs ^nd dangerous powers, furniQies no reafon for their 
continuance. 

As things ftand, can you in juftice (except perhaps in that 
over-perfe<St kind of juftice which has obtained, by its me- 
rits, the title of the oppofite vice*) infift that any man 
-fhould, by the courfe of his office, keep a bank from whence 
he is to derive no advantage ? That a man ihould be fubje(9: 
to demands below, and be in a manner refufed an acquiti- 
tance above; that he ihould tranfmit an original iin, and in- 
heritance of vexation to his jiofterity, without a power of 
compenfating himfelf in fome way or other, for fo perilous 
afituation? We! know, that if the;paymafter fliould deny 
himfelf the advantages of his bank, the public, as things 
ftand, is not the richer for it by a 'fingl6 ftiilling. This I 
thought it' neceflary to fay, as to the offenlive magnitude 
of the profits of this office; that we nray proceed in refor- 
mation, on the principles of reafon, and not on the feelings 
•of envy. 

The trcafurer of the navy is, Mutatis mutandis.^ in the 
•fame circumftances. Indeed all accountants are. Inllead of 
the prefent mode, which is troublefome to th« officer, and 
•unprofitable' to the public, I propofe to fubftitute fomething 
'more efiedtual than rigour, which is the worft exactor in 
the world. I mean to remove the very temptations to de- 
lay; to facilitate the account ; and to transfer this bank, now 
of private emolument, to the public The crown will fuffer 
no wrong at leaft from the pay-offices;. and its terrors will 
•no longer reign over the families of thofe who hold, or have 
•hold them. I propofe, that thefe offices ihould be no 
(longer hanks or treafuries^ but mere o^r^j of admin\ftration.-^ 
I propofe, firft, that the prefent pay matter and the treafurer 
o^ the navy, Ihould carry into the exchequer, the whole 

* Summutn jus fumma injuria. 

G ^ a body 



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22« SPEECH ON THE 

body of the vouchers for what they have paid over to de- 
puty paymafters, to regimental agents, or to any of thofe 
to whom they have and ought to havepaid money. I pro- 
pofe that thofe vouchers fhall be admitted as actual pay- 
ments in their accounts ; and that the perfons to whom the 
money has been paid^ fhall then (land charged in the exche- 
quer in their place. After this procefs, they fhall be debited 
or charged for nothing but the money-balance that remains 
in their hands. 

I am confcious, Sir, that if this balance (which they could 
not expe6l to be fo fuddenly demanded by any ufual jorocefs 
of the exchequer) fhould now be exadted all at once, not 
only their ruin, but a ruin of others to an extent which I 
do not like to think of, but which I can well conceive, and 
which you may well conceive, might be the confequence. 
I told you, Sir, when I promifed before the holydays to bring 
in this plan, that I never would fuffer any man or defcrip- 
tion of men, to fuffer from errors that naturally have grown 
out of the abufive conftitution of thofe offices which I pro- 
pofe to regulate. If I cannot reform with equity, I will not 
refornv at alL 

For the regulation of pafl accounts, I fhall therefore pro- 
pofe fuch a mode, as men, temperate and prudent, make 
nfe of in the management of their private affairs, when 
their accounts are various, perplexed, and of long ftanding* 
I would therefore, after their example, divide the public 
debts into three forts ; good ; bad ; and doubtful. In look- 
ing over the public accounts, I fhould never dream of the 
blind mode of the excheq\ier. which regards thi^igs in the 
abflra6t, and knows no difference in the quality of its debts, 
or the circumftances of its debtors. By this means, it fa- 
tigues itfelf; it vexes others; it often cruflies the poor ;. it 
kts efcape the rich.; or in a fit of mercy or carelefTnefs, de- 

' . clines 



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CECONOMICAL REFORM. 229 

dines all means of recovering its jiift demands. Content 
with the eternity of its claims,. it enjoys its epicurean divi- 
nity with epicurean languor. But it is proper that all forts 
of accounts ftiould be clofed fome time or other — by pay- 
ment; by compolition ; or by oblivion. Expedit reipublica 
utjitjinis litium. Conftantly taking along with me, that an 
extreme rigour is fure to arm every thing againft it, and at 
length to relax into a fupine negledt, I propofe, Sir, that 
even the beft, foundeft, and the moft recent debts, fliould be 
put into inftalments,. for the mutual benefit of the account- 
ant and the public- 

In proportion, however, as I am tender of the paft, I would 
be provident of the future. All .money that was formerly 
imprefted to the tw^o^x^-^X. pay-offices^ I would'have impreft- 
ed in future to the bank of England. Thefe offices fliould, 
in future, receive no more than cafti fufficient for fmall 
payments. Their other payments ought to be made by 
drafts on the bank, expreffing the fervice. A checque ac- 
count from both offices, of drafts and receipts, fliould be 
annually made up in the exchequer, charging the bank, in 
account, with the cafli-balance, but not demanding the pay- 
ment until there is an order from, the treafury, in confe- 
quence of a vote of parliament. 

As I did not^ Sir, deny to the paymafter the natural pro- 
fits of the bank that was in his hands, fo neither would I to 
the bank of England • A fliare of that profit might be de- 
rived to the public in various ways. My favourite mode is 
. this ; that,, in compenfation for the ufe of this money, the 
bank may take upon themfelves, firft, jf/6^ charge of the mint ; 
. to which they are already, by their charter, obliged to bring 
in a-greatdeal of bullion annually to be coined.. 

In the next place, I mean that they fliould take upon 
tliemfelves the charge of. remittances to our troops abroad^ 

This 



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250 S iP E E G H ON THE 

This is a fpecies of dealing from which, by the famre 
charter, they are not debarred. One and a quarter per cent. 
will be faved inftantly thereby to the public, on very large 
•fums of money. This will be at once a matter of oecono- 
my, and a conliderable re'du<5lion of influence, by takiri|; 
•away a private contradt of an expenfive nature. ^If the 
'bank, which is a great corporation, and of courfe receives 
•the leaft profits from the money in their cuftody, Ihould df 
itfeif ref ufe, or be perfuaded to refufe this offer upon thofe 
terms, I can fpeak with fomfe confidence, that one at leaft, 
if not both parts of the condition would be received, and 
gratefully received, by feveral bankers of eminence. There 
is no banker who will not be at leaft as good fecurity as 
any paynaafter of the forces, or any treafurer of the navy, 
that have ever been bankers to the public: as rich at leaft as 
my lord Chatham, or my lord Holland, or either of the 
honourable gentlemen Who now l>old the offices, were at 
the time that they entered into them; or as ever the whole 
eftablifhment of the mint has been at any period. 

Thefe, Sir, are the outlines of the plan I mean to follow, 
in fuppreffing thefe two large fubordinate treafuries. I 
now come to another fubordinate' treafury; T mean,' that df 
the paymajler of the penfiom ; for which purpofe I re-enter 
the limits of the civil eftiblithment— I departed from thofe 
limits in purfuit of a principle; and following the fame 
game in its doubles, I am brought into thofe limits again. 
That treafury, and that office, I mean to take away ; and 
to transfer the payment of every name, mode, and denomi- 
nation of penfions, to the exchequer. The prefent courfe 
of diverfifying the fame objedt, can anfwer no good pur- 
pofe; whatever its ufe may be to purpofes of another 
kind. There are alfo other lifts of penfions ; and I mean 
that they fhould all be hereafter paid at one arid the fame 

place. 



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(ECONOMICAL REFO^RM. aai 

pfece^ The wh6l^ of that new confolidated lift, I mean to 
reduce to £. 60,060 a year, which fum I intend it fhall 
never exceed. L think that fum will fully anfwer as a 
reward to all real merit, and a provilion for all real public 
cjiarity that is ever like to be placed upon the lift. If any 
merit of an extraordinary nature fliould emerge, before that 
redudtion is completed, I have left it open for an addrefs of 
either houfe of parliament to provide for the cafe. To all 
other demands, it muft be anfwered, with regret, but with 
firmnefs, "the public is poor." 

I do not propofe, as I told you before Chriftmas, to take 
away any penfion. I know that the public feem to call for 
a redii6tion of fuch of them as lliall appear unmerited. As 
a cenforial a<5t, and punifliment of an abufe, might anfwer 
fome purpofe. But this can make no part of my plan. L 
mean to proceed by bill; and I cannot ftop for fuch an 
enquiry. I know fome gentlemen may blame me. It is 
with great fubmiflion to better judgments that I recommend 
it to confideration ; that a critical retrofpedtive examination 
of the penfion lift, upon the principle of merit, can never 
ferve for my bafis. — It cannot anfwer, according to my 
plan, any eflfedlual purpofe of ceconomy, or of future per- 
manent reformation. The procefs in any way will be entan- 
gled and difficult ; ^nd it will be infinitely flow : There is a. 
danger that if we turn out line of march, now dirciSted to- 
wards the grand object, into this more laborious than ufeful 
detail of operations^ w« ftiall never arrive at our end. , 

The l^iag, Sir^^ has been by the conftitution appointed 
fole judge of the merit for which a penfion is to be given. 
We have a right, undoubtedly, to canvafs this, as we have 
to canvafs every adt of government. But there is a material \ 
difference between an office to be reformed, and a penfion 
taken away for demerit. In the former cafe, no charge ia 

implied 



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232 S P E E C H O N THE 

implied againft the holder; in the latter, his charaAer is' 
llurred, as well as his lawful emolument afFedted. The 
former procefs is againft the thing; the fecond againft the 
perfon. The peniioner certainly, if he pleafes, has a right 
to ftand on his own defence ; to plead his poffeflion ; and to 
bottom his title in the competency of the crown to give him 
what he holds, Poflbfled, and on- the defenfive as he is, 
he will not be obliged to prove his fpecial merit, in order 
to juftify the a6t of legal difcretion, now turned into his 
property, according to his tenure. The very ad, he will 
contend, is a legal prefumption, and an implication of his 
merit. If this be fo, from the natural force of all legal 
prefumption, he would put us to the difficult proof, that- 
he has no merit at all. But other queftions would arife in 
the courfe of fuch an enquiry; that is, queftions of the 
merit when weighed againft the proportion of the reward; 
then the difficulty wjU be much greater. 

The difficulty will not. Sir, I am afraid, be much lefs, 
if we pafs to the perfon really guilty, in the queftion of an 
unmerited penlion; the minifter himfelf. I admit, that 
when called to account for the execution of a truft, he 
might fairly be obliged to prove the affirmative; and to ftate 
the merit for which the penfion is given ; though on the 
l^enfioner himfelf, fuch a procefs would be hard. If in this 
examination we proceed methodically, and fo as to avoid 
all fufpicion of partiality and prejudice, we muft take the 
penfions in order of time,' or merely alphabetically. The 
very firft penfton to which we come, in either of thefe 
ways, may appear the moft grofsly unmerited of any. But 
the minifter may very poffibly lliew, that he knows nothing 
of the putting on this penfion— that it was prior in time to 
his adminifiration — that the rninifter, who laid it on, is dead ; 
and then we are thrown back upon the penfioner himfelf, 

and 



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GECONOMICAL REFORM. 233 

and plunged into all our former difficulties. Abufes, and 
grofs ones, I doubt not, would appear ; and to the correc- 
tion of which I would readily give my hand ; but, when I 
confider that penfions have not generally been affefled by 
the revolutions of miniftry; as I know not where fuch 
enquiries would ftop ; and as an abfence of merit is a nega- 
tive and loofe thing, one might be led to derange the order 
of families, founded on the probable continuance of their 
kind of income. I might hurt children; I might injure 
creditors. I really think it the more prudent courfe, not to 
follow the letter of the petitions. If we fix this mode of 
enquiry as a bafis, we Ihall, I fear, end, as parliament has 
often ended under fimilar circumftances. There will be 
great delay; much confufion; much inequality in our 
proceedings. But what prefles me moft of all is this ; that 
though we fhoiild ftrike off all the unmerited penfions, 
while the power of the crown remains unlimited, the very 
fame undefcrving perfons might afterwards return to the 
very fame lift : or if they did not, other perfonS merit- 
ing as little as they do, might be put upon it to an 
undefinable amount. This I think is the pinch of the 
grievance. 

For thefe reafons. Sir, I am obliged to wave this mode 
of proceeding as any part of my plan. In a plan of re-^ 
formation, it would be one of my maxims, that when T 
know of an eftablifhment which may be fubfervient to ufe- 
ful purpofes, and which at the fame time, from its dif- 
cretionary nature, is liable to a very great perverfion from 
thofe pufpofes, / would limit the quantity of the power that 
might be fo abufed. For I am fure, that in all fuch cafes,' 
the rewards of merit will have very narrow bounds ; anc^ 
that partial or corrupt favour will be infinite. This princi-. 
pie is not arbitrary ; but the limitation of the fpecific quan-. 

Vol. IL Hh tity 



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»34: SPEECH ON THE . 

ti^y muft be fo in Ibme meafure. I therefore ftate j^". 60,000; 
leaving it open to the hoiife to enlarge or contraA the futn 
as they (hall fee) on examination, that the difcretion I ufe 
is fcanty or liberal. The whole amount of the penfions 
of all denominations, which have been laid before us, 
amount, for a period of feven years, to confiderably more 
than £. i00;000 a year. To what the other lifts amount, 
I know not. That will be feen hereafter. But from thofe 
that do appear, a faving will accrue to the public, at one 
time or other, of j^". 40,000 a year, and we had better in my 
opinion to let it fall in naturally, than to tear it crude and 
unripe from the ftalk *. 

There is a great deal of uneafinefs among the people^ 
upon an article which I muft clafs under the head of pen- 
lions. I mean the great patent offices in the exchequer* 
They are in reality and fubftance no other than penfions^ 
and iri no other light fhall I conlider them. They are 
iinecure^. They are always executed by deputy. The duty 
of the principal is as nothing. They differ however ifronx 
the penficfls on the lift, in fome particulars. Th^y are 
held for life. I think with the public, that the profits of 
thofe places are grown enormous ; the magnitude of thofe 
profits, and the nature of them, both call for reformation. 
The nature of their profits, which grow out of the public 
diftrefs, is itfelf invidious and grievous. But I fear that 
tefbrm cannot be immediate. I find myfelf imder a re- 
ftriftion. Thefe places, and others of the fame kind, 
which are held for life, have been confidered as property. 

• It WW fiippofed by the lordadvocatt^ ia a. fub<^uent debate, that Mr. Bote, be- 
caufe h« objedtd to an enquiry into the pcnfioii lift for tin puvj^ of osconomy and 
relief of the public, would have it withheld fron the judgownt of parliament for aD pur- 
pofes wha^bever. This learned gentlenun certainly mifunderftood him. His {dan fliews 
that be wiflied the whole lift to be eafily acceffible j indhe knows that the public eye is e^ 
itftif a great guavd agaioft abufe. . ' ' 

They 



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CE G O N O M I G A L R E fi* O R M. 455 

They have been given as a provifibn for children; they 
have been the fabje£t of family fettlements; they have 
been the fecurity of creditors. What the law refpefts Ihall 
be facred to me. If the barriers of law Ihould be broken 
down, -upon ideas of convenience, even of public conveni- 
ence, we fliall have no longer any thing certain among us. 
If the difcretion of power is once let loofe upon property, 
we can be at no lofs to determine whofe power, and what 
difcretion it is that will prevail at laft. It would be wife to 
attend upon the order of things ; and- not to attempt to 
outrun the flow, biit fmooth and even dourfe of nature. 
There are occafions, I admit, of public neceflity, fo v&ft, fo 
clear^ fo evident, that they fuperfede all laws. Law being 
only made for the benefit of the community cannot in any 
one of its^ partly refift a demand which may comprehend 
the total of the public intereft. To be fure, no law can fet 
itfelf up againft the caufe and reafon of all law. But fuch a 
cafe very rarely happens ; and this liooft certainly is not fuch 
a cafe. The me3*e time of the ireform is by no means worth 
the facrifice of a principle of lawi Individuals pafs like 
lhadow& ; but the commonwealth is fixed arid ftable. The 
difference therefore of to-day and to»-morrow, which to pri- 
vate people is immenfe, to the ftate is nothing. At any 
rate it is better, if poflSble, to reconcile our oeconomy with 
our laws, than to fet them at variance ; a quarrel which in 
the end muft be deftru^ve to both* 

. My idea,, therefore, is to reduce thofe officers to fixed 
falaries, as the prcfent lives and reveirfions ihall fiicceffivdy 
fall. I mean, that the office of the great auditor (the 
auditor of the receipt) ihall be rediiced to J^. 3,000 a year ; 
and the auditors of the' imprefk and the reil of the principal 
officers, to fixed appointments of £, 1,500 a year each. It will 
not be difficult to calculate the value of this-fall of Uve$ 'to the 

H h a public, 



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«36 SPEECH ON THE 

public, when we (hall have obtained a juft account of the 
prefcnt income of thofe places ; and we (hall obtain that 
account with great facility, if the prefent poffeflbrs are not 
alarmed with any apprehenfion of danger to their freehold 
office. 

I know too, that it will be demanded of me, how it 
comes, that lince I admit thefe offices to be no better than 
penfions, I chofe, after the principle of law had been fatif- 
fied, to retain them at all ? To this, Sir, I anfwer, that con- 
ceiving it to be a fundamental part of the conftitution of 
this country, and of the reafon of ftate in every country, 
tha.r there muft be means of rewarding public fervice, 
thofe means. will be incomplete, and indeed wholly in- 
fufficient for that purpofe, if there flioUld be no further, 
reward for that fervice, than the daily wages it receives 
during the J)leafure of the crown. 

Whoever ferioufly coniideris the excellent argument of 
lord Somers, in the banker's cafe, will fee he bottoms him- 
felf upon the very fame maxim which I do ; and one of his: 
principal grounds of do<ftrine for the alienability of thfr 
domain in England * contrary to the maxim of the law in 
France, he lays in the coriftitutional policy, of furnifhing a 
permanent reward to public fervice J of making that reward 
the origin of families ; and the foundation of wealth as well 
as of honours. It is indeed the only genuine unadulterated 
origin of nobility. It is a great principle in government ; 
a principle at the very foundation of the whole ftrudlure. 
The other judges who held the fame dodlrine, went beyond 
lord Sonjers with regard to the remedy, which they thought 
was given by law againft the crown, upon the grant of 
penfions. Indeed no man knows, when he cuts off the 
incitements to a virtuous ambition, and the juft rewards of 

* Before d» ftatufie of ^ueen Aime, which Umited Uie alienation of tatidl. 

public 



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CEGON MICA L REFORM. a37 

public fervice^ what infinite mifchief he may do his country^ 
through all generations. Such laving to the public may 
prove the worft mode of robbing it. The crown, which 
has in its hands the truft of the daily pay for national fer- 
vice, ought to have in its hands alfo the means for the 
reix>fe of public laboury and the fixed fettlement of acknow- 
ledged merit. There is a time, when the weather-beatea 
veflels of the ftate ought to come into harbour. They 
muft at length have a retreat from the malice of rivah;» 
from the'perfidy of political friends, and the inconflancy of 
the people* Many of the perfons, who in all times have 
filled the great offices of flate, have been younger brothers, 
who had originally little, if any fortune. Thefe offices do 
toot furnifh the means of amafling wealth. There ought to 
be fome power in the crown of granting penlions out of the 
reach of its own caprices* An intail of dependence is a bad 
reward of merit. - 

I would, therefore, leave to the crown the poflibility of 
conferring fome favours, which, whilft they are received 
as a reward, do not operate as corruption. When men 
receive obligations from the crown through the pious 
hands of fathers, or of connexions as venerable as the pa*- 
ternal, the dependences which arife from thence, are the 
obligations of gratitude, and not the fetters of fervility. 
Such ties originate in virtue, and they promote it* They 
continue men in thofe habitudes of friendihip, thofe politi- 
cal connexions, and thofe political principles in which they 
begaii life. They are antidotes againft a corrupt levity, 
inftead of caufes of it. What an unfeemly fpe6tacle would 
it afford, what a difgrace would it be to the commonwealth 
that fuffered fuch things, to fee the hopeful fon of a meritd-* 
rious minifler begging his bread, at the door of that treafury, 
from whence hi^ father difpenfed- thie oeconomy of an 

empire, 



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asB - S P E E C H O N THE: 

empire, and promoted the happineis' and glOTjr of his coun- 
try? Why fliouid he be obliged to prottrate his honour, 
and to . fubmit his principles at the levee of fome proud 
favourite, fliouldered and thruft afide by every impudent 
pretendei', on the very fpot where a few days before he faw 
himfelf adored ?— obliged to cringe to the author of the 
calamities of his houfe, and to kifs the hands that are red 
with his father's blood ?— No, Sir, thefe things are unfit— 
They are intolerable. 

Sir, I Ihall be aflced, why I do not chufe to destroy thofe 
offices which are peniions, and appoint penfions under the 
diredt title in their Head? I allow, that in fome cafes it 
leads to abufe ; to. have things appointed for one purpofe, 
and applied to another. I have no great obje<ftion to fuch 
a change ; but I do not think it quite prudent for me to 
propofe it. If I Ihould take away the prefent eftablifliment, 
the burthen of proof refts upon me, that fo many penfions, 
and ho more, and to. fuch an amount each, and no more, 
are neceflary. for the. public fervice. This is what 1 can 
never:, prove; ,fof it is a thing incapable of definition. I 
do hot like to lake. away an objedt that I think aikfwers my 
-purpofe, in hopes of getting it back again in a better ihape. 
People will bear an; oljl eftablilhment when its excefs is 
corredked, who wijl xevolt at a. new one. ido. not think 
thefe office-penfions to be naofe. in number than fufficient : 
but on that point the houfe will cxercife its difcretion. As 
to abufe, I am convinced, that very few trufts in the ordi- 
nary, courfe of adminiftration, have admitted lefs. abufe than 
this. Efficient minifters have be^n their own payrnafters. 
It is true. But their very. pa;rtiality has operated as a kind 
of juftice; and lUU it was fervice that yras paid. When 
,we look over this exchequer . Bft,. we find it filled with 
jthe.deicendants of the Walpoks» of the Pelhams, of. the 

Townfliends ; 



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(ECONOMICAL REFORM. 439 

ToWBfliendsf names to whom this country owes its libei'* 
ties; -and to whom his matjefty owes his crown. It was in 
one of thefe lines» that the immenfe? and envied employ- 
ment he now holds, came to a certain duke *, who is now 
probably fitting quietly at a very good dinner dire<5tly under 
us ; and acSting bigb life below Jiairs, whilft we, his maftersj 
are filling our mouths with unfubftantial founds^ and tdlkt 
ing of hungry oeconomy over his head. But he is the eldet 
branch of an antient and decayed houfe, joined to, and 
repaired by the reward of fervices done by another. \ 
relpe<a the original title, and the firjft purchafe of merited 
wealth and honour through all its defcents, through all 
its transfers, and all its aflignments. May fuch fountains 
nevei" be dried up! May they ever flow. with their ori^ 
ginal purity, and refrelh and fru<5lify the commonwealth^ 
for ages I 

Sir, I think myfelf bound to give you my reafons as clev- 
ly, and as fully, for flopping in the courfe of reformation^ 
as for proceeding in it. My limits are the rules of law ; the 
rules of policy; and the fervice of the ftate. .This >s th© 
realbn why I am not able to intermeddle with pother artii 
clei which feems to be a fpecific object in feveral of the pe-» 
titions; I mean the redu<5lion of exorbitant emoluments to 
efficient offices. If I knew of any real efficient office, whtcb 
did poflefs exorbitatnt emoloifients, I ftiould be extremely de-* 
iirouS of reducing them> Others may know of them. .1 
do not. I am not pofiefled of an. t\d£t common meafvirq 
between real fervice and its reward. lamyery fure^. th^t 
ftate$ do fometimesr receive fervicesj which is hafdly jn their 
power to reward aiccording to their worth. . If I were to give 
my judgment, with- regard to ^is country, I do not think 
the great efficient offices of the ftate to be overpaid.- The 

§ fervice 



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240 S P E E C H O N THE" 

fervice of the public is a thing which cannot be put to auc- 
tion, and itruck down to thofe who will agree to exeeute it 
the cheapeft. When the proportion between reward and 
fervice, is our objedl, we rauft always confider of what na- 
ture the fervice is, and what fort of men they are that niuft 
perform it. What is juft payment for one kind of labour, 
and full encouragement for one kind of talents, is fraud and 
difcouragement to others. Many of the great offices have 
much duty to do, and much expence of reprefentation to 
maintain. A fecretary of ftate, for inftance, muft not ap- 
pear fordid in the eyes of the minifters of other nations ; 
neither ought our minifters abroad to appear contemptible 
in the courts where they refide. In all offices of duty, 
there is, almoft neceflkrily, a great neglect of all domeftic 
affairs. A perfon in high office can rarely take a view of 
his family-houfe. If he fees that the ftate takes no de- 
triment, the ftate muft fee that his affairs fliould take as 
little. 

• I will even go fo far as to affirm, that if men were willing 
to ferve in fuch fituations without falary, they ought not to 
be permitted to do it. Ordinary fervice muft be fecured by 
the motives to ordinary integrity. I do not hefitate to fay, 
that, that ftate which lays its foundation in rare and heroic 
virtues, will be fure to have its fuperftrufture in the bafeft 
proffigacy and corruption. An honourable and fair profit 
is the beft fecurity againft avarice and rapacity; as in all 
things elfe, a lawful and regulated enjoyment is the beft fe- 
curity againft debauchery and excefs. For as wealth is 
power, fo all power will infallibly draw ' wealth to itfelf by 
fome means or other: and when men are left no way of af^ 
certaining their profits but by their means of obtaining 
them, thofe means will be encreafed to infiuity. This i^ 
true in all the parts of admioifbratioDf as well as^in the 

whole. 



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(ECONOMICAL REFORM. 141 

whole. If any individual were to decline his appointments, 
it niight give an unfair advantage to oftentatious ambition 
over unpretending fervice ; it might breed invidious cora- 
parifons ; it might tend to deftroy whatever little unity and 
agreement may be found among minifters. And after all, 
when an ambitious man had run down his competitors by a 
fallacious ftiew of dilintereftednefs, and fixed himfelf in 
power by that means, what fecurity is there that he would 
not change his courfe, and claim as an indemnity ten times 
more than he has given up ? 

This rule, like every other, may admit its exceptions. 
When a great man has fome one great objecSt in view to be 
atchieved in a given time, it may be abfolutely necelTary for 
him to walk out of all the common roads, and if his fortune 
permits it, to hold himfelf out as a fplendid example. I am 
told, that fomething of this kind is now doing in a country 
near ns. But this is for a Ihort race; the training for a 
heat or two, and not the proper preparation for the regular 
ftages of a methodical journey. I am fpeaking of eftablifli- 
ments, and not of men. 

It may be expedled. Sir, that when I am giving my rea- 
fbns why I limit myfelf in the redudion of employments, 
or of their profits, I fhould fay fomething of thofe which 
feem of eminent inutility in the ftate ; I mean the number 
of officers who by their placp are attendant on the perfon 
of the king. Confidering the commonwealth merely as 
fuch, and confidering thofe officers only as relative to the 
diresSt purpofes of the ftate, I admit that they are of no ufe 
at all. But there are many things in the conftitution of 
eftablifhments, which appear of little value on the firft view, 
which in a fecoridary and oblique manner, produce very 
material advantages. It was on full confideration that I de- 
termined not to leflen any of the offices of honour about 

Vol. II. I i the 



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242. SPEECH ON THE 

the crown, in their number, or their emoluments. Thefe 
emoluments, except in one or two cafes, do not much more 
than anfwer the charge of attendance. Men of condi- 
tion naturally love to be about a court ; and women of con- 
dition love it much more. But there is in all regular attend- 
ance, fo much of conftraint, that if it were a mere charge,., 
without any compenfation, you would foon have the court 
deferted by all the nobility of the kingdom. 

Sir, the moft ferious mifchiefs would follow from fuch a 
defertion. Kings are naturally lovers of low company* 
They are fo elevated above all the reft of mankind, that 
they muft look upon all their fubjedts as on a level. They 
are rather apt to hate than to love their nobility, on account 
of the occafional refiftance to their will, which will be made 
by their virtue, their petulance, or their pride. It muft in- 
deed be admitted, that many of the nobility are as perfedlly 
willing to acSl the part of flatterers, tale-bearers, parafites,. 
pimps, and buffoons, as any of the loweft and vileft of man- 
kind can poflibly be. But they are not properly qualified 
for this obje6t of their ambition. The want of a regular 
education, and early habits, and fome lurking remains of 
their dignity, will never permit them to become a match for* 
an Italian eunuch, a mountebank, a fidler, a player, or any 
regular practitioner of that tribe. The Roman emperors 
almoft from the beginning, threw themfelves into fuch 
hands; and the mifchief increafed every day till its decline, 
and its final ruin. It is therefore of very great importance 
(provided the thing is not overdone) to contrive fuch an 
eftablifliment as muft, almoft whether a prince will or not,., 
bring into daily and hourly ofiices about his perfon, a great 
number of his firft nobility ; and it is rather an ufeful pre- 
judice that gives them a pride in fuch a fervitude. Though 
they are not much the better for a court, a court will be 
9 much 



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CECONOMICAL REFORM. 243 

much the better for them. I have therefore not attempted 
to reform any of the ojSices of honour about the king's 
perfon. 

There are, indeed, two offices in his ftables which are 
linecures. By the change of manners, and indeed by the 
nature of the thing, they muft be fo ; I mean the feveral 
keepers of buck-hounds, ftag-hounds, fox-hounds, and 
harriers. They anfwer no purpofe of utility or of fplendon 
Thefe I propofe to abolilh. It is not proper that great no- 
blemen (hould be keepers of dogs, though they wete the 
king's dogs. In every part of my fcheme, I have endea- 
voured that no primary, and that even no fecondary fervice 
of the ftate, fhould fufFer by its frugality. I mean to touch 
no offices but fuch as I am perfeftly fure, are either of no 
ufe at all, or not of any ufe in the leaft affignable proportion 
to the burthen with which they load the revenues of the 
kingdom, and to the influence with which they opprefs the 
freedom of parliamentary deliberation; for which reafon 
there are but two offices which are properly ftate offices, 
that I have a delire to reform. 

The firft of them is the new office of third fecretary of 
Jlatej which is commonly czYLtdi fecretary of fate for the co^ 
hnies. 

We know that all the correfpondence of the colonies had 
been, until within a few years, carried on by the fouthern 
fecretary of ftate ; and that this department has not been 
Ihunned upon account of the weight of its duties; but on 
the contrary, much fought, on account of its patronage. 
Indeed he muft be poorly acquainted with the hiftory of 
office, who does not know how very lightly the American 
functions have always leaned on the fhoulders of the minif- 
terial Atlas j who has upheld that fide of the fphere. Un- 
doubtedly, great temper and judgment Was requifite in the 

I i 2 . management 



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244 SPEECH ON THE 

management of the colony politics ; but the official detail^ 
was a trifle. Since the new appointment, a train of unfor- 
tunate accidents has brought before us almoft the whole 
correfpondence of this favourite feeretary's office^ fince the 
firft day of its eftablifhment. I will fay nothing of its aufpi- 
cious foundation ; of the quality of its correfpondence ; or 
of the efFecSts that have enfued from. it. I fpeak merely of 
its quantity ; which we know would haye been little or no 
addition to the trouble of whatever office had its. hands the* 
fulleft. But what has been the real condition of the old office 
of fecretary of ftate? Have their velvet bags^ and their red 
boxes, been fo full, that nothing more could poffibly be' 
crammed into them I 

A correfpondence of a. curious nature has been Tately pub- 
liflied '-. In that correfpondence. Sir,, we find,, the opinion 
of a noble perfon, who is thought to be the grand manu- 
fadturer of admin iftrat ions; and therefore the beft judge ofT 
the quality of his work. He was of opinion, that there wasi 
but one man of diligence and induftry in the whole admi- 
niftration — it was the liate earl of Suffi)lk. The noble lord, 
lamented very juftly,, that this ftatefman, of fo much mental- 
vigour, was almoft wholly difaWed from the exertion of it^ 
by his bodily infirmities^ Lord Suffi)lk, dead to the ftate^ 
long before he was dead to nature,, at laft paid his tribute to 
the common treafury to which we muft alL be taxed. But 
fb little want was found even of his intentional induftry, . 
that the office, vacant in. reality to its duties long before,, 
continued vacant even in nomination and, appointment for 
a year after his death. The whole of the laborious and ar- 
duous correfpondence.of this empire, refl^d.folely upon the. 
adlivity and energy of Lord Weymouth.. 

It is therefore demonftrable, fince one diligent man was 

* Letters between Dr. Adduigton and Sir James Wright. 

fuHy 



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(ECONOMICAL REFORM. 245 

fully equal to the duties of the two offices, that two diligent 
ttien will be equal to the duty of three. The bufinefs of 
the new office which I fhall propofe to you to fupprefs, is 
by no means too much to be returned to either of the fe- 
cretaries which- remain. If this duft in the balance fhould 
be thought too heavy, it may be divided between them 
both.; North America (whether free or reduced) to the 
northern fecretary, the Weft Indies to the fouthern. It is 
not neceflary that I Ihould fay more upon the inutility of 
this office. It is- burning day-light. But before I have 
done, I (hall juft remark, that the hiftbry of this office is 
too recent to fuffi^r ns to forget, that it was made for the 
mere convenience of the arrangements of political intrigue^ 
and not for the fervice of the ftate ; that it was made, in 
order to give a colour to an exorbitant increafe of the civil* 
Kft; and in the fame zGt to bring a new acceffion to the 
loaded compoft heap of corrupt influence. 

There is, Sir, another office, which was not long fince* 
clofely connected with this of the American fecretary ; but 
has been lately feparated from it for the very fame purpofe 
for which it had been conjoined ; I mean the fole purpofe of 
all the feparations and all conjun<5lions that have been lately 
made — a job. — I fpeak, Sir, oi Xht board of trade and plan-^ 
tations^ This board is- a fort of temperate bed of influeujce ; 
a- fort of gently ripening hot-houfe, where eight members 
of parliament receive falaries of a thoufand a year, for a 
certain given time, in order to mature at a proper feafon, 
a claim to two thoufand, granted for doing lefs, and on the 
credit of having toiled fo long in that inferior laborious 
department.. 

I have known that board, off and on, for a great number 
of years. Both of its pretended objedls have been much 
the objeds of my ftudy, if I have a right to. call any purfuits 



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246 SPEECH ON THE 

of mine by fo refpedtable a name. I can affure tlxe houfe> 
and I hope they will not think that I riflv my little credit 
lightly, that, withoiit meaning to convey the leaft refleftion 
upon any one of its members pafl: or prefent, — it is a board 
which, if not mifchievous, is of no life at all. 

You will be convinced, Sir, that I am not miftaken, if 
you refledt how generally it is true, that commerce, the 
principal obje6l of that office, flourilhes jiioft when it is left 
to itfelf. Intereft, the great guide of commerce, is not a blind 
one. It is very well able to find its own way; and its neceffities 
are its beft laws. But if it were poljible, in the nature of 
things, that the young fhould diredt the old, and the inex- 
perienced inftrudt the kno\ving ; if a bpard in the Itate was 
the bell tutor for the countin^-houfe ; if the defk ought to 
read ledtures to the anvil, and the pen to ufurp the place of 
the fliuttle— yet in any matter of regulation, we know that 
board muft a6t with as little authority as fkill. The prero- 
gative of the crown is utterly inadequate to its obje<St ; be- 
caufe all regulations are, in their nature, reftridtive of fome 
liberty. In the reign indeed, of Charles the Firjij the coun- 
cil, or committees of council, \yere never a moment unoc- 
cupied, with affairs of trade. But even where they had no 
ill intention (whicl;i was fometim^s. th^ cafe) trade and ma- 
nufadture fufFered infinitely from th^ir injudicious tamper- 
ing. But lince that period, whenever regulation is wanting 
(for I do not deny, that fometimes it may be wanting) par- 
liament conftantly fits ; and parliament alone is competent 
to fuch regulation. We want no inftru<5tions from boards, 
of trade, or froni any other board ; and God forbid we 
fhould give the leafl attention to their reports. Parliamen- 
tary enquiry is the only mode of obtaining parliamentary 
information. There is more real knowledge to be obtained, 
by attending the detail of bufinefs in the Qommittecs abov^ 

ftairs, 



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CEGONOMIGAL REFORM. 247 

ftairs, than ever did come, or ever will come from any 
Board in this kingdom, or from all of them together. An 
afliduous member of parliament will not be the worfe in- 
ftnidted there, for not being paid a thoufand a year for 
learning his leflbn. And now that I fpeak of the commit- 
tees above ftairs, I muft fay, that having till lately at- 
tended them a good deal, I have*obferved that no defcrip- 
tion of members give fo little attendance, either to commu- 
nicatey or to obtain inftru6tion upon matters of commerce, 
as the honourable members of the grave board of trade. 
I really do not recolle6t, that I have ever feen one of them 
in that fort of bulinefs. Poflibly fome members may have 
better memories ; and may call to mind fome job that may 
have accidentally brought one or other of them, at one time 
or other, to attend a matter of commerce. 

This board, Sir, has had both its original formation, and 
its regeneration, in a job. In a job it was conceived, and in 
a job its mother brought it forth. It made one among 
thofe fhewy and fpecious impolitions, which one of the 
experiment-making adminiftrations of Charles the Second 
held out to delude the people, arid to be fubftituted in the 
place of the real fervice which they might expert from a 
parliament annually fitting. It was intended alfo to corrupt 
that body whenever it fhould be permitted to fit. It was 
projeiSted in the year 1668, and it continued in a tottering 
and rickety childhood for about three or four years, for it 
died in the year 1673, a babe of as little hopes as ever 
fwelled the bills of mortality in the article of convulfed or 
over-laid children, who have hajdly ftepped over the 
threftiold of life. 

It was buried with little ceremony; and never more 
thought of, until the reign of King WiUiam^ when in the 
ftrange viciffitude of neglect and vigour, of good and ill 

fuccefs 



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248 SPEECH. ON THE 

fuccefs that attended his wars, in the year 1695, the trade 
was diftrefled beyond all example of former ftifferings, by 
the piracies of the French cruifers. This fuffering in- 
cenfed, and, as it flionld I'eem, very juftly incenfed, the 
hoiife of commons. In this ferment they ftruck, not only 
at the adminiftration, but at the very conftimtioa of the 
executive government. They attempted to form in parlia- 
ment a board for the protevftion of trade ; which, as they 
planned it, was to draw to itfelf a great part, if not the 
wliole, of the fnndlions and powers, both of the admiralty, 
and of the treafury ; and thus^ by a parliamentary delega- 
tion of office and officers, they threatened abfolutely to 
feparate thefe departments from the whole fyftem of the 
executive government, and of courfe to veil the moft lead- 
ing and elfcntial of its attributes in this board. As the 
executive government was in a manner convicted of a dere- 
li(5lion of its fundions, it was with infinite difficulty, that 
this blow was warded off in that feffion. There was a 
threat to renew the fame attempt in the next. To prevent 
the effect of this manoeuvre, the court oppofed another 
manoeuvre to it ; and in the year 1696, called into life this 
board of trade, which had flept lince 1673. 

This, in a few words, is the hiftory of the regeneration 
of the board of trade. It has perfecf^ly anfwered its pur- 
pofes. It was intended to quiet the minds of the people, 
and to compofe the ferment that then was ftrongly working 
in parliament. The courtiers were too happy to be able to 
fubftitute a board, which they knew would be ufelefs, in 
the place of one that they feared would be dangerous. 
Thus the board of trade was reproduced in a job ; and per- 
haps it is the only inftance of a public body, which has never 
degenerated ; but to this hour preferves all the health and 
vigour of its primitive inllitution. 

This 



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GEGONOMIGAL REFORM. 2^ 

This board of trade and plantations has not been of any 
life to the colonies, as colonies ; fo little of ufe, that th^ 
flouriihing fettlements of New England, of Virginia, and of 
Maryland, and all our wealthy colonies in the Weft Indies, 
were of a date prior to the firft, board of Charles the.Second. 
Penfylvania and Carolina were fettled during its dark quar- 
ter, iti the interval between- the extindlion of the firft, and 
the formation of the fecond board. Two colonies alone 
owe their origin to that board, Georgia, which, till lately, 
has made a very flow progrefs ; and never did make any 
'progrefs at all, until it wholly got rid of all the regulations 
which the board of trade had moulded into its original cout- 
flitution. That colony has coft the nation very great fums 
of money ; whereas the colonies which have had the fortune 
of not being godfathered by the board of trade, never coft 
the nation a (hilling, except what has been fo properly 
fpent in lofing them. But the colony of Georgia, weak as 
it was, carried with it to the laft hour, and carries, even in 
its prefent dead pallid vifage, the perfedt refemblance of its 
parents. It always had, and it now has, an ejlablifhment 
paid by the public of England, for the fake of the influence 
of the crown; that colony having never beqn able or willing 
to take upon itfelf the expence of its proper government, or 
its own appropriated jobs. 

The province of Nova Scotia was the youngeft and the 
favourite child of the board. Good God ! What fums the 
nurfing of that ill-thriven, hard-vifaged, and ill-favoured 
brat, has coft to this wittol nation ! * Sir, this colony has 
flood us in a fum of not lefs than feven htmdred thoufand 
pounds. To this day it has made no repayment — It does 
not even fupport thofe oflSlces of expence, which are mif- 
called its government ; - the whole of that job ftill lies upon 
the patient, callous flioulders ef the people .6f England* , 

Vol. IL K k :. Sir, 



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#50 SPEECH ONTHE 

Sir, I am going to ftate a fadt to you, that will fcrve to fet 
in full funiihe the real value of formality and official fu- 
perintendance. There was in the province of Nova Scotia, 
one little neglected corner; the country of the neutral 
French :i which having the good fcxrt^ne to efcape the fof- 
tering care both of France and England, and to have been 
lliut out from the prote<5tion and regulation of councils of 
commerce, and of boards of trade, did, in filence, without 
notice, and without affiftance, increafe to a confiderable 
degree. But it feems our nation had more fkill and ability 
in deftroying, than in fettling a colony. In the laft war we 
did, in my opinion, moft inhumanly, and upon pretences 
that in the eye of an honeft man are not worth a farthing, 
root out this poor innocent deferving people, whom our 
utter inability to govern, or to reconcile, gave us no fort of - 
right to extirpate. Whatever the merits of that extirpation 
might have been, it was on the footiteps of a negle<5led 
people, it was on the fund of unconftrained poverty, it was 
on the acquiiitions of unregulated induftry, that any thing 
which deferves the name of a colony in that province, has 
been formed. It has been formed by overflowings from 
the exuberant population of New England, and by emi- 
gration, from other parts pf Nova Scotia, of fugitives frqm 
the protedlion of the board of trade. 

But if all of thefe things were not more than fufficient to 
prove to you the inutility of that expenlive eftabliOiment, I 
would defire you to recolle<£l, Sir, that thofe who may be 
very ready to defend it, are very cautious how they employ 
it; cautious how they employ it even in appearance and 
pretence^ They are afraid they fliould lofe the benefit of 
its influence in parliament, if they feemed to keep it up for 
any other purpofe. If ever .there were commercial points^ 
of great weighty and moft clofely connected with our de- 
5 pendences, 



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CECONOMICAL REFORM. .151 

pendefaces, they are thofe which have been agitated and 
decided in parliament lince I came into it* Which of the 
innumerable regulations lince made had their origin or their 
improvement in the board of trade ? Did any of the feveral 
Eaft India bills which have. been fucceffively produced lince 
1767, originate there? Did any one dream of referring 
them, or any part of them thither ? Was any body fo ridi- 
culous as even to think of it ? If ever there was an occalion 
on which the board was fit to ,be cpnfulted, it was with 
regard to the a<as, that were preludes to the American war, 
or attendant on its Ciimimendemeut : thofe <ax£ts ivfcre full of 
commercial regulations, fuch as they - were ;— the inter- 
courfe bill; the prohibitory bill; the fiiherybill? If the 
-board was not concerned in fuch things, in what particular 
was it thought fit that it ihould be concerned? In the 
courfeof all thefe bills through the heiufe, lobferved the 
metnbers of that board to be reinwrkably cautious 'of inter- 
meddling. They underftood decorum 'better ; they know 
that matters of trade and plantations are no bufinefs of 
theirs. 

There were two very recent occafions, on which, if 
the idea of any ufe for the board' had not' been extinguifh- 
€d by prefcription, appeared -lerudly to call for their inter- 
ference. • • 

When commiffioners were fentto pay his majefty's and 
our dutiful refpe<Sts to the congrefs of the United States, a 
part of their powers imdep the cornmifliwi were, it-feems, 
of a commercial nature, 'they were authorized in the moft 
ample and undefined manner, to form a )0(MHn3erciaL' treaty 
with AriieTita on the fpot. This ^qb «o trivial bbjedt. As 
the formation of i^icha treaty would necefiarHy have been 
no lefs than the breaking up of. our whole commercial 
fyftem, and the giving it an entire netr form ;' bne would 

K k 2 imagine. 



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25a SPEECH O N T. H E 

imagine, that tke board of trade would have fat day and 
nightj to model propofitions, which, on our fide, might 
ferve as a bafis to that treaty. No fueh thing. Their 
learned leifure was not in the leaft interrupted, though one 
of the members of the board was acommiffioner, and might, 
in mere compliment to his office, have been fuppofed to 
make a fliew of deliberation on the fubjed. But he knew, 
that his colleagues would have thought he laughed in their 
faces, had he attempted to bring, any thing the moft dif- 
tantly relating to commerce or colonies, before tbem. A 
noble perfon, eDgag«d in the fame.comraiffionj. and fent to 
-learn his commercial .rudimentSjin , New York^ (then under 
the operation of aaadt for the univerfal prohibition of trade) 
was foon after put at the head of that board. This con- 
tempt from the prefent minifters of .all the pretended func- 
tions of that board, and .their manner of breathing into its 
very foul, of infpiritig it with its animating ^nd prefiding 
principle, puts an end to all difpute; concerning their opi- 
nion of the clay it was made of. . But I will give them 
heaped meafure. 

, It was but the other day, that the noble lord in the blue 
ribbon carried up to the houfe of peers, two adts, altering^ 
I think much for the, better, but altering, in a great degree, 
our whole commercial fyftem. Thofe a6ts, I mean, for 
giving a free trade to Ireland iu woollens and in all things 
elfe, with independent nations, and giving thefti an equal 
trade to our own colonies. Here. too the novelty of this 
great, but arduous and critical inj^provement of fyftem, 
would make you conceive that the anxious folicittide of the 
noble lord iri the blue ribbon, would have wholly deftroyed 
the plan of fummer recreation of that board, by references 
to examine,, compare^} and digeft matters for pai'liament— 
You. would imagine,': tiKat Irifh oommiffioners . of: cuftoms 
! : and:: 



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CECONOMI€AL REFORM. 253 

and Englifli cdmmiflioners of caftoms, and commiflioners 
of excife, that merchants and manufacturers of every deno- 
mination, had daily crowded their outer rooms. Nil bar um.^ 
The perpetual virtual adjournment, and the unbroken fit- 
ting vacation of that board, was no more difturbed by the 
Irilh than by the plantation commerce, or any other com- 
merce. The fame matter made a large part of the bufinefs 
which occupied the houfe for two feffions before ; and as our 
minifters were not then mellowed by the mild, emollient, 
and engaging blandifliments of our dear fitter, into all the 
tendefnefs of unqualified furrender, the bounds and limits 
of a reftrained benefit naturally required much detailed 
management an<J pofiti/ve regulation. But neither the 
qualified propofitions which were received, nor thofe 
other qualifiedf propofitions which were rejected by mir- 
nifters, wer^ the leaft concern of theirs, pr. were th^y ever 
thought of in the bufinefs V 

It is therefore, Sir^ on the opinion of parliament, on the 
opinion of the minifl:ers, and even on their own opinion pf 
their inutUity^ that I fliall propofe to you to fupprefs the 
board of trad( and plantations \ and to. recommit all its bufi- 
nefs to the council from whence it was very iraprovidently 
taken ; and which bufinefs (whatever it might be) was much 
.better: done, and without any expence; and indeed where 
in efFe6l it may all come at lafl:. Almoft all that deferves 
the name of bufinefs ther€,. is the reference of the plantation 
a<5ts, to the opinion of gentlemen .;of the law.. But all this 
:may be done, as the Irifli bufinefs of the fame nature has 
always been done, by the council,. and with a reference to - 
the attorney and folicitor general. . 

There are fome regulations iq the houfehold, relative to 
the officers of the yeomen of the guards, and the officers 
and band of gentlemen penfioners, ^ which I ihall likewife - 

fubmit: 



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254 SPEECH ON THE 

fubmit to your confideration, for the purpofe of regulating 
eftablifliments, which at prefent are much abufed, 

I have now finiflied all, that for the prefent I ihall trou- 
ble you with on the p/an of reduSlion. I mean next, to pro- 
pofe to you the p/an of arrangement^ by which I mean to 
appropriate and fix the civil lift money to its feveral fervices 
according to their nature ; for I am thoroughly fenfible, that 
if a difcretion, wholly arbitrary, can be exercifed over the 
civil lift revenue, although the moft efFe<Stual methods may 
be taken to prevent the inferior departments from exceed- 
ing their bounds, the plan of refofmaticfn will ftill be left 
very imperfect. It will not, in my opinion, be fafe to per- 
mit an entirely arbitrary difcretion even in the firft lord of 
the treafury himfelf : it will not be fafe to leave with him a 
power of diverting the public money from its proper ob- 
jects, of paying it in an irregular coxirfe, or of inverting 
perhaps the order of time, dictated by the proportion of va- 
lue, which ought to regulate his application of payment to 
fervice. 

I am fenfible too, that the very operation of a plan of 
oeconomy which tends to exonerate the civil lift of expen- 
five eftabliftiments, may in feme fort defeat the capital end 
\\'e have in view, the independence of parliament ; and that 
in removing the public and oftenfible means of influence, 
we may increafe the fund of private corruption, I have 
thought of fome methods to prevent an abufe of furplus 
calli under difcretionary application ; I mean the heads of 
fecret fervice^ fpecial fervice^ various payments^ and the like; 
which, I hope, wpU anfwer, and which in due time I Ihall 
lay before you. Where I am unable to limit the quantity 
of the funis to be applied, by reafon of the uncertain quan- 
tity of the fervice, 1 endeavour to confine it to its //>/^; to 
fecure an indefinite application to the definite fervice to 

which 



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(ECONOMICAL REFORM- 255 

which it belongs ; not to flop the progrefs of expence in 
its line, but to confine it to that line in which it profefles to 
mpve* 

B.ut that part of my plan, Sir, upon which I principally 
reft, that, on which I rely for the purpofe of binding up, 
and fecuring the whol^, is to eftablifh a fixed and invariable 
order in alj its payments, which it Ihall not be permitted to 
the firft lord of the treafury, upon any pretence whatfoever, 
to depart from. I therefore divide the civil lift payments 
into nine claflTes, putting each clafs forward according to the 
importance or juftice of the demand, and to the inability of 
the perfons entitled to enforce their pretenfions ; that is, to 
put thofe firft who have the moft efficient offices, or claim 
the jufteft debts ; and, at the fame time, from the charadter 
of that defcription of men, from the retirednefs, or the re- 
motenefs of their fituation, or from their want of weight 
and power to enforce their pretenfions, or from their being 
entirely fubjedl to the power of a minifter, without any re- 
ciprocal power of awing, ought to be the moft confidered,. 
and are the moft likely to be negledted ; all thefe I place in 
the higheft clafTes : I place in the loweft thofe whofe func- 
tions are of the leaft importanccji but whofe perfons or rank 
are often of the greateft power and influence. 

In the firft clafs I place the Judges^ as of the firft import- 
ance. It is the public juftice that holds the community to- 
gether; the eafe, therefore, and independence of the judges,, 
ought to fuperfede all other confiderations, and they ought 
to be the very laft to feel the neceflities of the ftate, or to be 
obliged either to court or bully a minifter for their right : 
they ought to be as weak folicitors on their own demands^ 
as ftrenuous afTertors of the rights and liberties of others; 
The judges are, or ought to be> of a referved and. retired 
chiiradter, and wholly unconneded. with the political; world. 

la 



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256 SPEECH ON'THE 

In the fecond clafs I place the foreign minifters. The 
judges are the links of our connexions with one another ; 
the foreign minifters are the links of our connexion with 
other nations. They are not upon the fpot to demand 
payment, and are therefore the moft likely to be, ^afe in fa£l 
they have fometimes been, entirely neglected, to the great 
difgrace, and perhaps the great detriment of the nation. 

In the third clafs I would bring all the tradefmen who fup- 
ply the crown by contradt, or otherwife. 

In the fourth clafs I place all the domeftic fervants of the 
king, and all perfons in efficient offices, whofe falaries do 
not exceed two hundred pounds a year. 

In the fifth, upon account of honour, which ought to give 
place to nothing but charity and rigid juftice, I would place 
the penfions and allowances of his majefty^s royal family, 
comprehending of courfe the queen, together with the ftated 
allowance of the privy purfe. 

In the fixth clafs, I place thofe efficient offices of duty, 
whofe falaries may exceed the fum of two hundred pounds 
a year. 

In the feventh clafs, that mixed mafs the whole penfion 
lift. 

In the eighth, the offices of honour about the king. 

In the ninth, and the laft of all, the falaries and penfions 
of the firft lord of the treafury himfelf, the chancellor 
of the exchequer, and the other commiffioners of the trea- 
fury. ' ' ^ 

If >by any poffible mifmanagement of that part of the re- 
venue which is left at difcretion, or by any other mode of 
prodigality, cafti fhould be deficient for the payment of the 
loweft daflTes, I propofe, that the amount of thofe falaries 
where the deficiency may happen to fall, Ihall not be carried | 

as debt to the account of the fucceeding year, but that it | 

Ihall 



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OECONOMIGAL REFORM. 257 

fliall be entirely lapfed, funk, and loft ; fo that government 
will be enabled to ftart in the race of every new year, whol- 
ly unloaded, frefti in wind and in vigour. Hereafter, no 
civil lift debt can ever come upon the public. And thofe 
who do not confider this as favipg, becaufe it is not a certain 
fum, do not ground their calculations of the future on their 
experience of the paft. -, 

I know of no mode of preferving the efFedhial execution 
of any duty, but to make it the diredl intereft of the execu- 
tive officer tha,t it Ihall be faithfully performed. Aflliming, 
then, that the prefent vaft allowance to the civil lift is per- 
fectly adequate to all its purpofes, if there fliould be any 
failure, it muft be from the mifmanagement or negiedt of 
the firft commiffioner of the treafury ; fince, upon the pro- 
pofedplan, there can be no expence of any confequence, 
which he is not himfelf previoufly to authorize and finally 
to control. It is therefore juft, as well as politic, that the 
lofs ftiould attach upon the delinquency. 

If the failure from the delinquency Ihould be very confi- 
derable, it will fall on the clafs diredlly above . the firft lord 
of the treafury, as well as upon himfelf and his board. It 
will fall, as it ought to fall, upon offices of no primary im- 
portance in the ft ate; but then it will fall upon perfons, 
whom it will be a matter of no flight importance for a mi- 
nifter to provoke — it will fall upon perfons of the firft rank 
and confequence in the kingdom ; upon thofe who are neareft 
to the king, and frequently have a more interior credit with 
him than the minifter himfelf. It will .fall vtpon mafters of 
the horfe, upon lord chamberlains, upon lord :ftewards, 
upon grooms of the ftole, and lords of the bedchamber. 
The houfehold troops form an army, who will be ready to 
mutiny for want of pay, and whofe mutiny will ,be really 
dreadful to a commander in chief. A rebellion of the thir- 

VoL. II. L 1 teen 



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258 SPEECH ON THE 

teen lords of the bedchahiber would be far more terrible to 
a minifter, and would probably aflfeft his power more to the 
quick, than a revolt of thirteen colonies. What an uproar 
fuch an event would create at court! What petitions^ and 
commit teesy and ajbciathnsy would it not produce! Blefs 
me! what a clattering of white Hicks and yellow fticks 
would be about his head — what a ftorm of gold keys would 
fly about the ears of the minifter — what aihower of Georges, 
and Thiftles, and medals, and collars of S. S. would affail 
him at his firft entrance into the antichamber, after an inibl- 
vent Chriftmas quarter. A tumtdt which could not be ap- 
peafed by ail the harmony of the new-year's ode. Rebel- 
lion it is certain there would be; and rebellion toay not 
now indeed be ib critical an event to thofe who engage in 
it, iince its price is fo corre<ftly afcertained at juft a thoufand 
pound. 

Sir, this claffing, in my opinion, is a ferious and folid fe- 
curity for the performance of a minifter's duty. Lord Coke 
fays, that the ftaffwas put into the treafurer's hand, to en- 
able him to fupport himfelf when there was no money in 
the exchequer, and to beat away importunate folicitors. The 
method, which I propofe, would hinder him from the ne- 
cefRty of fuch a broken ftaff to lean on, or fuch a miferable 
weapon for repulfing the demands of worthlefs fuitors, 
who, the noble lord in the blue ribbon knows, will bear 
many hard Mows on the head, and many other indignities, 
before they are driven from the treafury. In this plan, he 
is furniftied with an anfwer to all their importunity ; an an- 
fWer far more conclufive, than if he had knocked them 
down with his ftaff—" Sir, (or my Lord), you are calling for 
** my own falary — Sir, you are calling for the appointments 
** of my colleagues who lit about me in office— Sir, you are 
*' going to excite a mutiny at court againft me — you are go- 

S " ins 



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GECONOMIGAL REFORM. 259 

^^ ing to eftrange his majefty's confidence from me, 
^ through the chamherlain, or the matter of the horfe, or 
*^ the groom of the ftole,'' 

As things now ftand, every man, in proportion to his con- 
feqiience at court, tends to add to the expences of the civil 
lift, by all manner of jobs, if not for himfelf, yet for his de- 
pendents. When the new plan is eftablifhed, thofe who 
are now fuitors for jobs, will become the moft ftrenuous op- 
pofers of them. They will have a common intereft with 
the minifter in public oeconomy. Every clafs^ as it ftands 
low, will become fecurity for the payment of the preceding 
dafs ; and thus the perfons, whofe infignificant fervices de- 
fraud thofe that are ufeful, would then become interefted in 
their payment. Then the powerful, inftead of opprefling, 
would be obliged to fupport the weak ; and idlenefs would 
become concerned in the reward of induftry. The whole 
fabric of the civil oeconomy would become compact and 
connedled in all its parts ; it would be formed into a well- 
organized body, Avhere every member contributes to the 
lupport of the whole ; and where even the lazy ftomach 
lecures the vigour of the active arm. 

This plan, I really flatter myfelf, is laid, not in official for- 
mality, nor in airy fpeculation, but in real life, and in hu- 
man nature, in what *^ comes home (as Bacon fays) to the 
^ buiinefs and bofoms of men.'* You have now. Sir, before 
you, the whole of my fcheme, as far as I have digefted it 
into a form, that might be in any refpeft worthy of your 
confideration. — 1 intend to lay it before you in five billjs*. 
The plan confifts, indeed, of many parts ; but they ftand 
upon a few plain principles. It is a plan which takes no- 
thing from the civil lift without difcharging it of a burthen 
equal to the fum carried to the public feryice. It weakens 

* Titles of the bills reaA 

LI 2 no 



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26o SPEECHON THE 

no one fundlion neceflary to government ; but on the con* 
trary, by appropriating fupply to fervice, it gives it greater 
vigour. It provides the means of order and forelight to a 
minifter of finance, which may always keep all the objeds 
of his office, and their ftate, condition, and relations, dif- 
tindlly before him. It brings forward accounts without 
hurrying and diftreffing the accountants : whilft it provides 
for public convenience, it regards private rights. It extin- 
guiflies fecret corruption almoft to the poffibility of its ex- 
iftence. It deftroys diredl and vifible influence equal to the 
offices of at leaft fifty members of parliament. Laftly, it 
prevents the provifion for his majefty's children, from being 
diverted to the political purpofes of his minifter. 

Thefe are the points, on which I rely for the merit of the 
plan : I purfue oeconomy in a fecondary view, and only as 
it is connedled with thefe great objects. I am perfuaded, 
that even for fupply, this fcheme will be far from unfruit- 
ful, if it be executed to the extent I propofe it. I think it 
will give to the public, at its periods, two or three hundred 
thoufand pounds a year ; if not, it will give them a fyftem 
of oeconomy, which is itfelf a great revenue. It gives me 
no little pride and fatisfacStion, to find that the principles of 
my proceedings are, in many refpedls, the very fame with 
thofe which are now purfued in the plans of the French 
minifter of finance. I am fure, that I lay before you a 
fcheme eafy and pra6kicable in all its parts. I know it is 
common at once to applaud and to rejedt all attempts of this 
nature. I know it is common for men to fay, that fuch 
and fuch things are perfedlly right — very defirable; but 
that, unfortunately, they are not pradlicable. Oh !. no, Sir^ 
no. Thofe things wliich are not pradticable, are not defira- 
ble. There is nothing in the world really beneficial, that 
does not lie within the reach of ah informed underilanding, 

and 



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CECONOMICAL REFORM* 261 

and a well-diredled purfuit. There is nothing that God has 
judged good for us, that he has not given us the means to 
ac€Ortiplilh, both in the natural and the moral world. If 
we cry, like children for the moon, like children we muft 
cry on. 

We muft follow the nature of our affairs, and conform 
ourfelves to our lituation. If we do, our objedls are plain 
and" compaflable. Why fhould we refolve to do nothing, 
becaufe what I propofe to you may not be the exadl demand 
of the petition ; when we are far from refolved to comply 
even with what evidently is fo ? Does this fort of chicanery 
become us ? The people are the matters. They have only 
to exprefs their wants at large and in grofs. We are the 
expert artifts ; we are the fkilful workmen, to fliape their 
defires into perfect form, and to fit the utenfil to the ufe. 
They are the fufFerers, they tell the fymptoms of the com- 
plaint ; but we know the exadt feat of the difeafe, and how 
to apply tlie remedy according to the rules of art. How 
Ihocking would it be to fee us pervert our fkill, into a 
iinifter and fervile dexterity, for the purpofe of evading 
our duty, and defrauding our employers, who are our 
natural lords, of the' object of their juft expedlations. I 
think the whole not only pra6licable, but practicable in a 
very Ihort time. If we are in earneft about it, and if we 
exert that induftry, and thofe talents in forwarding the 
work, which I am afraid may be exerted in impeding it. — 
I engage, that the -whole may be put in complete execution 
within a yelr. For my own part, I have very little to 
recommend me for this or for any tafk, but a kind of 
earneft and anxious perfeverance of mind, which, with all 
its good and all its evil efFecSts, is moulded into my conftitu- 
tion. I faithfully engage to the houfe, if they choofe ta 
appoint me to any part in the execution of this work, 

which 



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s63 SPEECH ON THE 

which (when they have made it theirs by the improvements 
of their wifdom, will be worthy of the able a^iflance they 
may give me) that by night and by day, in town,, or. in 
country, at the deik, or in the foreft, I will, without regard 
to convenience, eafe, or pleafure, devote myfelf to their 
lervice, not expecting or admitting any reward, whotfo- 
ever. I owe to this country my labour, which is myall; 
and I owe to it ten times more ijiduftry, if ten times mor^ 
I could exert. After all I Ihall be an unprofitable fervant. 

At the fame time, if I am able, and if I (hall be permitted) 
I will lend an humble helping hand to any other good, worli 
which is going on. I hav« not. Sir, the frantic prefumpr 
tion to fuppofe, that this plan contains in it the whed^ of 
what the public has a right to expe«5t, in the great worl^ 
of reformation they call for. Indeed, it falls infinitely Ihort 
of it. It falls fhort, even of my own ideas. I have forae 
thoughts not yet fully ripened, relative to a reforpa in the 
culloms and excife, as well as in fome other branches of 
financial adminiftration. There are other things too, which 
form effential parts in 2i> great plan for the purpofe of 
reftoring the independence of parliament. The contradtors 
bill of laft year it is fit to- revive; ai^d I rejoice that it is in 
better hands than mine. The bill for fufpending the votes 
of cuftonxhoufc officers, brought into parliament fever^ 
years ago, by one of our worthieft and wifeft members *, 
(would to God we could along with the plan revive the 
perfon who defigned it.) But a man of very real integrity, 
honour, and ability will be found to take his places ^uad to 
carry his idea into full execution. You all fee how neceC- 
fary it is to review our military expences for ibme years 
paft, and, if poflible, to bind up and clofe that bleeding 
artery of profufion : but that bufinefs alfo, I have reafon to 

• W. DowdefweH, Efq; chancellor of Ac exchequer, 1765. 

hope, 



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CECONOMICAL RfeFORM. »6^ 

hope^ will be undertaken by abilities that are fully adequate 
to it. Something muft be devifed (if poffible) to check the 
ruinous expence of elecStions. 

Sir, all or moft of thefe things mufk be done* Every one 
muft take his part. 

If we fhould be able by dexterity or power, or intrigue, 
to difappoint the expectations of our conftituents, what will 
it avail us ? we fhall never be ftrong or artful enough to 
parry, or to put by the irrefiftible demands of our fituation. 
That iituaition calls upon us, and upon our conftituents too, 
with a voice which will be heard. I am fure no man is more 
zealoufly attached than I am to the privileges of this houfe, 
particularly in regard to the exclufive management of 
money. The lords have no right to the difpofition, in any 
fenfe, of the public pnrfe; but they have gone further 
in'-* felf-denial than our utmoft jealpufy could have re- 
quired. A power of examining accounts, to cenfure, cor- 
redl, and punifh, we never, that I know of, have thought 
of denying to the houfe of lords. It is fomething more 
than a century fince we voted that body ufelefs ; they have 
now voted themfelves fo. The whole hope of reformation 
is at length caft upon us ; and let us not deceive the na- 
tion, which does us the honour to hope every thing from 
our virtue. If a// the nation are not equally forward to 
prefs this duty upon us, yet be affured, that they aU equally 
expedt we Ihould perform it. The refpe<Slfui filence of 
thofe who wait upon your pleafure, ought to be as power- 
ful with you, as the call of thofe who require your fervice 
as thdr right. Some, without doors, affedt to feel hurt for 
your dignity, becaufe they fuppofe, that menaces are held 
out to you* Juftify their good opinion, by (hewing that no 
menaces are neceffary to ftimulate you to your duty.— But, 

« Rejedlion of loi^d Shfilburne's motioa in tbe houfe of lord$« 

Sir, 



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-ra64 SPEECH O N T H E 

Sir, whilft we may fympathize with them, in one point, 
who fympathize Math us in another, we ought to attend no 
lefs to thofe who approach us like men, and who, in the 
guife of petitioners, fpeak to us in the tone of a concealed 
authority. It is not wife to force them to fpeak out more 
plainly, what they plainly mean, — But the petitioners are 
violent. Be it fo. Thofe who are leaft anxiotis about your 
condu6l, are not thofe that love you moft. Moderate affec- 
tion and fatiated enjoyment, are cold and refpedtful; but 
an ardent and injured paflion, is tempered up with wrath, 
and grief, and Ihame, and confcious worth, and the mad- 
dening fenfe of violated right. A jealous love lights his 
torch from the firebrands of the furies. — ^They who call 
upon you to belong wholly to the people, are thofe who wifh 
you to return to your proper home ; to the fphere of your 
duty, to the poft of your honour, to the manfion-houfe of 
all genuine, ferene, and folid fatisfadtion. We have fur- 
nillied to the people of England (indeed we have) fome ;real 
caufe of jealoufy. Let us leave that fort of company 
which, if it does not deftroy our innocence, pollutes our 
honour : let us free ourfelves at once from every thing that 
can increafe their fufpicions, and inflame their juft refent- 
ment : let us call away from us, with a generous fcorn, all 
the love-tokens and fymbols that we have been vain and 
light enough to accept ; — all the bracelets and fnuff-boxes, 
and miniature pidtures, and hair devices, and all the other 
adulterous trinkets that are the pledges of our alienation, 
and the monuments of our fhame. Let us return to our 
legitimate home, and all jars and all quarrels will be loft in 
embraces. Let the commons in parliament affembled, be 
one and the fame thing with the commons at large. The 
diftindions that are made to feparate us, are unnatural and 
wicked contrivances. Let us identify, let us incorporate our- 
felves 



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(ECONOMICAL. REFORM. 265 

-felves. with the people. Let us cut all the cables and fnapthe 
chains which tie iis to an unfaithful Ihore, ami enter the 
friendly harbour, that fhoots far out into the main its moles 

and jettees to receive us. " War with the world, and 

^* peace with our conftituents." Be this our motto, and our 
principle: 'Then indeed,, we Ihall be truly great. Refpeva- 
ing' ourfelves, We ihall he refpedled by the world. At pre- 
fent all is troubled and cloudy, and diftradtecl, and full of 
anger and turbulence, both abroad and at home ; but the 
air may be cleared by this ftomi, and light and fertility may 
foltow it*: fLet us give a*faithful pledge to the people, that 
■we hotaiouiv indi?ed^.the crown ; but that we behng to thent j 
that w^eanre their. auxiliaries^ and not their taflc-mafters; the 
fellow-labourers in the Tame vineyard, not lording over their 
rights,, but helpers of their jayM that to tax them is a griev-^ 
ance to ourffclves,' but to cut off from our enjoyments to 
forward theirs, is the higheft gratification we are capable oi 
receiving. I feel with c6nifort, that we are all wariyied with 
thefe fentiments, and while we are thus warm, l-.«»vifli we 
may go diredtly and %vith a chearful heart to this falutary 
WiOrk^. 

Sir, I move for leave to bring in a bill, " For the bet- 
" ter regulation of his majefty's civil eftablifliments„ 
" and of certain public offices ; for the limitation of 
" penfions, and the fnppreffion of fundry ufelefs, ex- 
^^ penfive, and inconvenient places ; and for applying; 
^^ the monies faved thereby to the public fervice *.**' 

Lord North ftated, that there was a difference between 
this bill for regulating the eftablifliments, and fome of the 
others,, as they affedted the ancient patrimony of the crown; 
and therefore wifhed them to be poftponed, till the king's 
conftnt could be obtained. This • diftindtion was ftrongty 

* The motion was feconded by Mr. Fox- 

Vol* IK Mm controverted'; 



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266 SPEECH O K T H jr 

controverted; but when it was ihfifted on. a& a poiot of de- 
coriim only, it was agreed to poitpone them to another day. 
Accordingly, on the Monday following, viz. Feb, 14, leave 
was given, on the motion of Mr. Burke, witliout oppoiition, 
to bring in 

I ft, " A bill for the fale of the foreft and other crown 
** lands, rents, and hereditaments, with certain exceptions ; 
" and for applying the produce thereof to. the public fervicei 
<* and for feoiring, afcertaining, and fatisfying, tenant" 
** rigbtSj and common and ether rights.? 

ad, ** A bill for the more perfedtly uniting to the crown 
** the principality of Wales, and the county pahitinje of Chef- 
^ ter, and for the more commodious adminiflration of juftice 
*^ within the fanie ; as alio, for abolifhing certain offices now 
** appertaining thereto ; forquieting donnant claimir afcer" 
« taining andfecuring tenant-rights % and for the fale of all 
<• foreft lands, and other lands, tenements,, and heredita- 
•* inentsy held by his majefty in right of the faid principality, 
** or county palatine of Chefter, and for applying the produce 
** thereof to the public fervice^ 

3d, " A bill for uniting to the crown the duchy and coun- 
** ty palatine of Lancafter; for the fupiweffion of unnecef- 
" fary offices now belonging thereto ; for the afcertaintnent 
<* andfecurity of tenant and other rights \ and for the fale of 
<' all rents, lands, tenements, and hereditaments, and forefts, 
<* within the faid duchy and county palatine, or either of 
" them; and for applying the prMuce thereof to the public 

*< fervice^ And it was ordered that Mr. Burke, Mr. Fox, 

Lord John Cavendifli, Sir George Savile, Colonel Barrd, Mr, 
Thomas Townfhend, Mr. Byng, Mr. Dunning, Sir Jofeph 
Mawbey, Mr. Recorder of London, Sir Robert Clayton, 
Mr. Frederick Montagu, the Earl of Upper Offory, Sir 

William 



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ECONOMICAL REFORM. 267 

William Gtufe, and Mr. Gilbert, do- prepare and bring in the 
fame. 

At the fame time, Mr. Burke moved for leave to bring 
in — ^4th, *' A bill for uniting the duchy of Cornwall to the 
** crown ; for the fuppreffion of certain unneceffary offices 
" now belonging thereto; for the afcertainment andjecu- 
<* rity af tenant and other rights ; and for the fale of certain 
** rents, lands, and tenements, within or belonging to the 
*< faid duchy ; and for applying the produce thereof to the 
** publk fervicej* 

But fome obje<Stions being made by the furyeyor general 
of the duchy concerning the rights of the prince of Wales^ 
now in his minority^ and Lord North remaining perfe<Stly 
iUent, Mr. Burkey at length, though he ftrongly contended 
^ainjft the principle of the objection, confented to withdraw 
this laft motion for the prefent^ to be renewed upon an early 
occallon. 



M m 2 M K» 



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• i ... .'■ • . ' 









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MR. BURKE'S 

SPEECH 

AT THE GUILDHALL, IN BRISTOL, 

VRBVIOOS TO THX LATE BL2CTI0N IN THAT CITT, 

V P O N 

CERTAIN POINTS RELATIVE TO HIS 
PARLIAMENTARY CONDUCT. 

1780. 



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( a/i ) 



SPEECH, &c. 



Mr. Mayor, ani> Gentlemen, 

I Am extremely pleafed at the appearance of this large and 
refpe<StabIe meeting. The fteps I may be obliged to 
take will want the fan<Stion of a coniiderabW authority ; aitd 
in explaining any thing which may appear doubtfiil in my 
pritWic condud^t, I muft naturally deiire a very ftiU au- 
dience. 

I have been backward to begin my canvafs. The diflblu- 
tlon of the parliament was uncertain ; and it did not become 
mcj by an unfeafonable importunity, to appear diffident of 
the faft of my fix years endeavours to pleafe you. I hid 
ferved the city of Briftol honourably; and the city of Briftol 
had no reafon to think, that the means of honourable Ser- 
vice to the public, were become indifferent to me. 

I found on my arrival here, that three gentlemen had 
been long in eager purfuit of an obje<5t which but two of u«j 
can obtain. I found, that they had all met with encourage- 
ment. A contefted election in fuch a city as this, is no 
light thing. I paufed on the brink of the precipice. Thefe 
three gentlemen, by various merits, and on various titles, t 
made no doubt, were worthy of your favour. I Ihall never 
attempt to raife myfelf by depreciating the merits of my 
competitors. In the complexity and confufion of thefe 
crofs purfuits, I wifhed to take the authentic public fenfe of 
my friends upon a bufinefs of fo much delicacy. I wiflied to 
take your opinion along with me ; that if I ihould give up 
the conteft at the very beginning, my furrender of my poft 
a may 



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272 SPEECH AT BRISTOL 

may not feem the efFecSt of inconftancy, or timidity, or an- 
ger, or difgiift, or indolence, or any other temper unbecom- 
ing a man who has engaged in the public fervice. If, on 
the contrary, I fliould undertake the elec^tion, and fail of 
fuccefs, I was full as anxious, that it fhould be manifeft to 
the whole world, that the peace of the city had not been 
broken by my rafhnefs, prefumption, or fond conceit of my 
j>wn merit. '^ 

. * I am not come, by a falfe and counterfeit fhew of defe- 
rence to your judgment, to fedace it in my favour. lafk it 
feiiioufly and unaffe^acdly. If you wiihthat I Ihbuld retire^, 
J iihall not coafider that advice as a cenfure upon my con* 
dudl, or an alteration in your fentiments ; but as a rational 
fubmiffion to the circumftances of afiairs. If, on' the con- 
trary^ you fliould think it proper for me to proceed on my 
canv^^fs, if you will xifque the trawble on your part, V will 
rifque it on- mine* My prcteulions are- fuch as you catmot 
I>€ a(hamed of, whether they fiicceed or fall; 
. If you call upon me, I ftiall folicit the favour of the city 
upon manly ground. I come before. you with the plain 
confidence of an honeft feryant in the equity of a candid 
^nd difcerning matter. I come to claini your approbation, 
not to amufe you wdth vain apologies, or with profeffions 
ftill jnore vain and fenfelefs. I have lived too long to be 
ferved by apologies, or to ftand in need of them.. The part 
i have aiSled has been in open day ; and to hold .out to ai 
GonducSt, which ftands in that clear and fteady light for alt 
its good and all its evil, to hold out to that conduct the pal- 
try winjdng tapers of excufes and promifes — I never will 
<:lo it. — They may obfcure it with their fmoke ;. but they 
never c^n i^himine funjfhiue by fuch a flame- as theirs. 
. lam fenfible that no endeavours have been left untried to? 
iipjure me in your opinion*. But the uik of charafter is to 

be; 



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PREVIOUS TO THE ELECTION. 273 

he a fhield againft calumny. I could wifli, undoubtedly (if 
idle wiflies were not the moft idle of all things) to make 
every part of my conduct agreeable to every one of my con- 
ftituents. But in fo great a city, and fo greatly divided as 
this, it is weak to expedl it. 

In fuch a difcordancy of fentiments, it is better to look to 
the nature of things than to the humours of men. The 
very attempt towards plealing every body, difcovers a tem- 
per always flaftiy, and often falfe and inlincere. Therefore, 
as I have proceeded ftrait onward in my conduiSt, fo I will 
proceed in my account of thofe parts of it which have been 
moft excepted to. But I muft firft beg leave juft to hint to 
you, that we may fuffer very great detriment by being 
open to every talker. It is not to be imagined, how much 
of fervice is loft from fpirits full of adlivity and full of 
energy, who are prefling, who are rufliing forward, to great 
and capital objefts, when you oblige them to be continually 
looking back. WhUft they are defending one fervice, they 
defraud you of an hundred. Applaud us when we run; 
confole us when we fall ; cheer us when we recover ; but 
let us pafs on — for God's fake, let us pafs on. 

Do you think, gentlemen, that every public adt in the fix 
years fince I ftood in this place before you — that all the ar- 
duous things which have been done in this eventful period, 
which has crowded into a few years fpace the revolutions of 
an age, can be opened to you on their fair grounds in half 
an hour's converfation ? 

But it is no reafon, becaufe there is a bad mode of en- 
quiry, that there fhould be no examination at all. Moft 
certainly it is our duty to examine ; it is our intereft too. — 
But it muft be with difcretion; with an attention to all the 
circumftances, and to all the motives ; like found judges, 
and not like cavilling pettyfoggers and quibbling pleaders. 

Vol. IL N n prying 



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274 SPEECH AT BRISTOL 

prying into flaws and hunting for exceptions. Look, g&t^ 
tlemen, to the 7vbo/e tenour of your member's conducSt. Tlfy 
whether his ambition or his avarice have jiiftled him out of 
the ftrait line of duty ; or whether that grand foe of the o£S.ces 
of adtive life, that mafter-vice in men of bufinefs, a degene- 
rate and inglorious floth, has made him flag and languifh 
in his courfe ? This is the obje<Eb of our enquiry. If our 
member's conduit can bear this touch) mark it for fterlifig.^ 
He may have fallen into errors ; he muft have faults ; but 
our error is greater, and our fault is radically ruinous to our- 
felves, if we do not bear, if we do not even applaud, the 
whole compound and mixed mafs of fuch a charaiSter. Not 
to a<5t thus is foDy ; I had almoft faid it is impiety. He cen- 
fures God, who quarrels with the imperfections of man. 

Gentlemen, we muft not be pecvifti with tho{e who ierve 
the people. For none will ferve us whilft there is a court 
to ferve, but thofe who are of a nice and jealous honour. 
They who think every thing, in comparifon of that honour^ 
to be duft and aflies, will not bear to have it foiled and im- 
paired by thofe, for whofe fake they make a thoufand 
facrifices, to preferve it immaculate and whole. We fliaB 
either drive fuch men from the public ftage, or we Ihall 
fend them to the court for prote<Etion : where, if they mufl: 
facrifice their reputation, they will at leaft fecure their 
intereft. Depend upon it, that the lovers of freedom will be 
free. None will violate their confcience to pkafe us, ia 
order afterwards to difcharge that confcience^ which they 
have violated, by doing us faithful and affectionate fervice. 
If we degrade and deprave their minds by fervility> it wiH 
be abfurd to expe<5t, that they who are creeping and abje<5t 
towards us, will ever be bold and uncorruptible aflertors of 
our freedom, againft the moft feducing and the moft for- 
midable of all powers. No! human nature is not & formed;. 
^ nor 



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PREVIOUS TO THE ELECTION. 175 

nor fliall we improve the faculties, or better the morals of 
public men, by our poflefiion of the moft infallible receipt 
in the world for making cheats and hypocrites. 

Let me fay with plainnefs, I who am no longer in a pub- 
lic chara<5ter, that if by a fair, by an indulgent, by a 
gentlemanly behaviour to our reprefentatives, we do not 
give confidence to their minds, and a liberal fcope to their 
underftandings ; if we do not permit our member* to' a<Jt 
upon a very enlarged view of things ; we fhall at l^igth 
infallibly degrade our national reprefentation into a con- 
fufed and fcuffling buftle of local agency. When the po- 
pular member is narrowed in his ideas, and rendered timid 
in his proceedings, the fervice of the crowh will be the fole 
nurfery of ftatefmen. Among the frolics of the court, it 
may at length take that of attending to its bulinefs. Then 
the monopoly of mental power will be added to the power 
of all other kinds it poflefifes. On the fide of the people 
there will be nothing but impotence : for ignorance is im- 
potence; narrownefs of mind is impotence; timidity is 
itfelf impotence, and makes all other qus^ities that go along 
with it, impotent and ufelefs. 

At prefent it is the plan of the court to make its fervants^ 
inlignificant. If the people fhould fall into the fame hu- 
mour, and ihould choofe their fervants on the fame prin- 
ciples of mere obfequioufhefs, and flexibility, and total 
vacancy or indifference of opinion in all public matters, 
then' no part of the ftate will be found 1 and it will be in 
vain to think of faving of it. 

I thought it very expedient at this time to give you this 
candid counfel ; and with this counfel I would willingly 
clofe, if the matters which at various times have been 
objected to me in this city concerned only myfelf, and my 
own ele^on* Thefe charges, I think, are foiu" in number; — 

N n a my 



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276 SPEECH. AT BRISTOL 

my neglect' of a due attention to my conftitiients ; the not 
paying more frequent vifits here ; — my condudl on the 
aifairs of the firft Irilh trade adls ; — my opinion and mode 
of proceeding on lord Beauchamp's debtors bills ; — and my 
votes on the late affairs of the Roman Catholics. All of 
thele (except perlHips the firft) relate to matters of very 
confiderable public Concern ; and it is not left you ftiould 
cenfure me improperly, but left you fliould form improper 
opinions on matters of fome moment to you, that I trouble 
you at all upon the fubjedl. My condudt is of fmalt 
importance. 

With regard to the firft charge, my friends have fpoken: 
to me of it in the ftyle of amicable expoftulation ; not fo 
much blaming the thing, as lamenting the effeds- — Others, 
lefs partial to me, were lefs kind in affigning the motives* I 
admit, there is a decorum and propriety in a member of 
parliament's paying a refpecStful court to his conftituents- 
If I were confcious to myfelf that pleafure or dillipation,, or 
low unworthy occupations, had detained me from perfonal 
attendance on you, I would readily admit my fault, and 
quietly fubmit to the penalty. But, gentlemen, I live at an* 
hundred miles diftance from Briftol ; and at the end of a 
feflion I come to my own houfe, fatigued in body and in 
mind, to a little repofe, and to a. very little attention to ray 
family and my private concerns. A vifit to Briftol is ahvays 
a fort of canvafs ; elfe it wall do more harm than goocL To 
pafs from the toils of a feflion to the toils of a canvafs, is^ 
the furtheft thing in the world from repofe. I could 
hardly ferve you as I have done^ and court you too. Moft 
of you have heard, that I do not very remarkably fpare 
myfelf in public buiinefs ; and in the private bufinefs of my. 
conftituents I have done very near as much as thofe who 
have nothing elfe to do.^ My canvafs of you was not on the 

change^. 



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PREVIOUS TO THE ELECTION. 277 

change, nor in the county meetings, nor in the clubs of 
this city. It was in the houfe of commons ; it was at the 
cuftom-houfe; it was at the council; it was at the treafViry; 
it was at the admiralty. I canvafled you through your alTairs, 
and not your perfons. I was not only your reprefentativc 
as a body ; I was the agent, the folicitor of individuals ; I 
ran about wherever your affairs could call me ; and in 
adling for you 1 often appeared rather as a fliip-broker,, 
than as a member of parliament. There was nothing 
too laborious^ or too low for me to undertake. The 
meannefs of the bufinefs was raifed by the dignity of the 
ohje6t» If fome lefTer matters have flipped through my 
fingers, it was becaufe I filled my hands too full ; and in my 
eagernefs to ferve you, took in more than any hands could 
grafp. Several gentlemen Hand round me who are my 
willing witnefles ; and there are others who, if they were 
here, would be ftill better ; becaufe they would be unwilling 
witnefles to the fame truth. It was in the middle of a fum* 
mer refidence in London, and in the middle of a negociation 
at the admiralty for your trade, that I was called to Brirtol ; 
and this late vifit,, at this late day, has been poflibly in prc- 
j.udice to your affairs. 

Since I have touched upon this matter, let me fay, gen- 
tlemen, that if I had a difpofition, or a right to complain, 
I have fome caufe of complaint on my fide. With a peti- 
tion of this city in my hand, paflfed through the corporation 
without a diflfenting voice, a petition in unifon with almofl 
the whole voice of the kingdom, (with whofe formal thanks 
I was covered over) while I laboured on no lefs than five bills 
for a public reform, and fought againfl the oppofition of great 
abilities, and of the greateft power, every claufe, and every 
wcwrd of the largeft of thofe bills, almofl: to the very lall day 
of a very long feflion ; all this time a canvafs in Briftol was 

as 



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ayS SPEECH AT BRISTOL 

as calmly carried on as if I were dead. I was confidered 
as a man wholly out of the qneftion. Whilft I watched, 
and fafted, and fweated in the houfe of commons — by the 
moft eafy and ordinary arts of ele<£tion, by dinners and 
vifits, by " How do you do's,** and, ** My worthy friends* 
I was to be quietly moved out of my feat — and promifes 
were made, and engagements entered into, without any 
exception or referve, as if my laborious zeal in my duty had 
been a regular abdication of my truft. 

To open my whole heart to you on this fubjeft, I do coil- 
fefs, however, that there were other times befides the twd 
years in which I did vifit you, when I was not wholly without 
leifure for repeating that mark of my refpe(9:. But I could 
not bring my mind to fee you. You remember, that in the 
beginning of this American war (that zera of calamity, diC. 
grace and downfall, an aera which no feeling mind will ever 
mention without a tear for England) you were greatly 
divided ; and a very ftrong body, if not the ftrongeft, op- 
pofed itfelf to the madnefs which every art and every 
power were employed to render popular, in order that the 
errors of the rulers might be loft in the general blindnefs 
of the nation. This oppofition continued until after our 
great, but moft unfortunate victory at Long liland. Then 
all the mounds and banks of our conftancy were borne 
down at once ; and the phrenfy of the American war broke 
in upon us like a deluge. This vi<aory, which feemedto put 
an immediate end to all difficulties, perfected us in that fpirit 
of domination, which our unparalleled profperity had but 
too long nurtured. We had been fo very powerfiil, and fo 
very profperous, that even the humbleft of us were de- 
graded into the vices and follies of kings. We loft all 
meafure between means and ends; and our headlong de- 
fires be<:ame our politics and our morals. All men who 

wifhed 



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PREVIOUS TO THE ELECTION. 279 

wUhed for peace, or retained any fentiments of moderation, 
were overborne or (ilenced ; and this city was led by every 
artifice (and probably with the more management, becaufe 
I was one of your members) to diftinguifli itfelf by its zeal 
for that fatal caufe. In this temper of yours and of my 
mind, I (hould have fooner fled to the extremities of the 
earth, than have fhewn myfelf here. I, who faw in every 
American vidlory (for you have had a long feries of thefe 
misfortunes) the germ and feed of the naval power of 
France and Spain, which all our heat and warmth againft 
America was only hatching into life, — I fhould not have 
been a welcome vifitant with the brow and the language 
of fuch feelings. When afterwards, the other face of your 
calamity was turned upon you, and Ihewed itfelf in defeat 
and diftrefs, I fhunned you full as much. I felt forely this 
variety in our wretchednefs ; and I did not wifli to have the 
leaft appearance of infulting you with that fliew of fupe- 
riority, which, though it may not be aflumed, is generally 
fufpedled in a time of calamity, from thofe whole previous 
warnings have been defpifed. I could not bear to fliew 
you a reprefentative whofe face did not refledt that of his 
conftituents ; a face that could not joy in your joys, and 
forrow in your forrows. But time at length has made us 
all of one opinion ; and we have all opened our eyes on the 
true nature of the American war,, to the true nature of all 
its fuccelTes and all its failures. 

In that public ftorm too I had my private feelings. I 
had fecn blown down and proftrate on the ground feveral 
of thofe houfes ta whom I was chiefly indebted for the 
honour this city has done me. I confefs, that whilft the 
wounds of thofe I loved were yet green, I could not bear to 
ftiew myfelf in pride and triumph in that place into which 
their partiality had brought me,, and to appear at feafts and 

rejoicings^ 



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28o SPEECH AT BRISTOL 

rejoicings, in the nnidft of the grief and calamity of my 
warm friends, my zealous fupporters, my generous bcne- 
facSlors. This is a true, unvarnillied, undifguifed ftate of 
the nfRiir. You will judge of it. 

This is the only one of the charges in which I am per- 
fonally concerned. As to the other matters objedted againft 
me, which in their turn I fhall mention to you, remember 
once more I do not mean to extenuate or excufe. Why 
lliould I, w^hen the things charged are among thofe upon 
which I found all my reputation ? What w^ould be left to 
me, if I myfelf was the man, who foftened, and blended, 
and diluted, and weakened, all the diftinguiftiing colours of 
my life, fo as to leave nothing diftin(5l and determinate in 
my whole condu(5t ? 

It has been faid, and it is the fecond charge, that in the 
queftions of the Irifh trade, 1 did not confult the intereil 
of my.conitituents, or, to fpeak out ftrongly, that I rather 
adled as a native of Ireland, than as an Englifh member of 
parliament, 

I certainly have very warm good wifhes for the place of 
my birth. But the Iphere of my duties is my true country; 
It w^as, as a man attached to your interefts, and zealous for 
the confervation of your power and dignity, that I adted 
on that occafion, and on all occafions. You were involved 
in the American war. A new world oi policy was opened, 
to w^hich it was necejfTary we lliould conform whether we 
would or not ; and ray only thought waS how to conform 
to our fituation in fuch a manner as to unite to this king- 
dom, in profperity and in affedion, whatever remained of 
the empire. I was true to my old, ftanding, invariable 
principle, that all things, which came from Great Britain, 
fliould ifllie as a gift of her bounty and beneficence, rather 
thaa as claims recovered againft a ftruggling litigant ; or at 

kaft. 



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PREVIOUS TO THE ELECTION. 281 

3eaft, that if your beneficence obtained no credit in your 
.-conceflions, yet that they Ihould appear the falutary provi- 
iions of your wifdom and forefight ; not as things wrung 
from you with your blood, by the cruel gripe of a rigid ne- 
ceffity. The firft conceffions, by being (much againft ray 
will) mangled and ftripped of the parts which were necef- 
fary to make out their juft correfpondence and connexion, 
in trade, were of no ufe. The next year a feeble attempt 
was made to bring the thing into better Ihape. This at- 
tempt (countenanced by the minifter) on the very firft 
appearance of fome popular uneafinefs, was, after a con- 
liderable prpgrefs through the houfe, thrown out by him. 

What was the confeqeence ? The whole kingdom of Ire- 
land was inftantly in a flame. Threatened by foreigners, and, 
as they thought, infulted by England, they refolved at once 
to refift the power of PYance, and to caft off yours. As for us, 
we were able neither to prote6t nor to reftrain them. Forty 
thoufand men were raifed and difciplined without com- 
milfion from the crown. Two illegal amies were feen with 
banners difplayed at the fame time, and in the fame coun- 
try. No executive magiftrate, no judicature, in Ireland, 
would acknowledge the legality of the army which bore the 
king's commiflion; and no law, or appearance of law, 
authorifed the army commiflioned by itfelf. In this nnex^ 
ampled ftate of things, which the leaft error, the leaft 
trefpafs on the right or left, would have hurried down the 
precipice into an abyfs of blood and confufion, the people 
of Ireland demand a . freedom of trade with arms in their 
hands. They interdict all commerce between the two na- 
tions. They deny all new fupply in the houfe of commons, 
although in time of war. They ftint the truft of the old 
revenue, given for two years to all the king's predeceflbrs, 
to fix months. The Britifh parliament, in a former felfion 

Vol. II. O o frightened 



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4^2 SPEECH AT BRISTOL 

frightened into a limited concfcflion by the menaces of Ire- 
land, frightened out of it by the menaces of England, was 
now frightened back again, and made an univerfal fufren- 
der of all that had been thought the peculiar, f eferved, un- 
communicable rights of England ;— fhe exclufive commerce 
of Americl, of Africa, of the Weft-Iodies- — all the enumerar* 
tions of the a<5ts of navigation— all the manufa^ures, — iron^ 
glafs, even the laft {>Icdge of jealoufy and pride^ the intereft 
hid in the fecret of our hearts, the inveterate prejudice 
moulded into the conftitution of our frame, eVen the facred 
fleece itfelf, all went together. No referve i no exception f 
no debate ; no difcuflion. A fudden light broke in vkpon ufr 
all. It broke in, not through well-contrived and weH-dif- 
pofed windows, but through flaws and breaches; through 
the yawning chafms of our ruin. We were taught wifdoM 
by humiliation. No town in England prefutned to have a 
prejudice; or dared to mutter a petition. What was worfe> 
the whole parliament of England, which retained atithority 
for nothing but furrenders. Was defpoikd of every (hadow 
of its fuperintendance. It Was, without any qualifkatitMi^ 
denied in theory, as it had been ttampAed upon in pfa^ice* 
This fcenc of ftiame and difgriice hasj in a manner whilft I 
am fpeaking, ended by the perpetual eftabli(htnent of a mi- 
litary iTower, in the (tominions of this crowrtf without con* 
fent of the Britifli legillatnre *, contrary to the poBcy of the 
conftitittioh, contrary to the declaration of right r and by this^ 
your liberties are fwept away along wkh your fuprerae atl* 
thority — artd both, linked together from the beginning, have,, 
I am afraid, both together perilhed for ever. 

What J gentlertien, was I not to forefee, or forefeeiiig, was- 
I not to endeavottr to fave you ftiom all thefe multiplied' 
milchiefs and difgraces ? Would the little, filly, canvafs prat- 
tle of obeying inftrudtions, and having no opinions- bttt 

* Irifb perpetual mutiny ad. 

yoursjk 



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PREVIOUS TO THE l^J^ECTION. ^§3 

yaors., and fuch idle fenjTelefs tales, which ^raufe the vacant 
^rs of wntbinking men, h^ve faved you from " the pelting 
** of th»t pitiififs ftorm," to which the loofe improvidence, 
the cowar4}y raihnefs of thofe who dare not look danger in 
the face, Co 3.8 to provide againft it in time, and therefore 
throw themfelves headlong into the midft of it, have expofed 
this degradad nation, beat down asd proftraite on the earth, 
unftieltefed, unarmed, unrefifting ? Was I an Irifliman on 
that day, that I boldly withftood our pride i or on the day 
that J hung down my h<ead, and wept in Ihame and filence 
over the huojiliation of Great Britain ? I became unpopular 
in Sogiaad for the one, and in Ireland for the other. What 
then? What obligation lay on me to be popular ? I was bound 
to ierve both kingdomsi. To be pleafed with my fervice, 
wjas their 9#air, not mine. 

I was stfn Irifhman in the IrWa. bufinefs* juft as much as X 
wiias »n American, when on the fame piinciples, I wilhed 
yau tio Qoncede to America, at a time yfben ihe prayed coq- 
cellion at our feset, Juft as much was I an Anaerican when 
I wiihed pailiament to ol&r terms in vLftory, and not to 
wait th<e well-chofen hour of defeat, for making good by 
weaknefs, and by Cupplication, a claim of prerogative, pre- 
eminence, and authority. 

Inftead of requiring it from me, as a point of duty, to 
kindle with your paflxons, had you all been as cool as I was, 
you would have been faved difgraces and diftreffes that are 
unutterable. Do you remember our commiflion? We fent 
out a folemn embafly acrofs the Atlantic ocean, to lay the 
crown, the peerage, the commons of Great Britain, at 
the feet of the American congrefs. That our difgrace 
might want no fort of brightening and burnifhing, obferve 
who they were that compofed this famous embafly. My 
lord Carlifle is among the firft ranks of our nobility. He 

O o 2 is 



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284 SPEECH AT BRISTOL 

is the identical man who but two years before had been 
put forward, at the opening of a feffion in the houfe of 
lordsy as the mover of an haughty and rigorous addrefs 
againft America. He was put in the front of the embafly 
of fubmiflion. Mr. Eden was taken from the office of lord 
Suffolk, to whom he was then under fecretaryof ftate; from 
the office of that lord Suffolk, who but a few weeks before, 
in his place in parliament, did not deign to enquire where a 
congrefs of vagrants was to be found. This lord Suffolk 
fent Mr. Eden to find thefe vagrants^ without knowing 
where this king's generals were to be found, who were 
joined in the fame commiffion of fupplicating thofe whom 
they were fent to fubdue. They enter the capital of Ame- 
rica only to abandon it ; and thefe affertors and reprefenta- 
tives of the dignity of England, at the tail of a flying army,, 
let fly their Parthian fhafts of memorials and remonftrances 
at random behind them. Their promifes and their offers, 
their flatteries and th^ir menaces, were all defpifed ; and we 
were faved the difgrace of their formal reception, only be- 
caufe the congrefs fcorned to receive them ; whilft the ftate- 
houfe of independent Philadelphia opened her doors to the 
public entry of the ambaffador of France. From war and 
blood, we went to fubmiffion ; and- from fubmiffion plunged 
back again to war and blood ; to defolate and be defolated,. 
without meafure, hope, or end. I am a Royalift, Iblufhed 
for this degradation of the crown. 1 am a Whig, I bluflied 
for the diQionour of parliament. I am a true Englifliman, 
I felt to the quick for the difgrace of England. I am a manj 
I felt for the melancholy reverfe of human affairs, in the 
fall of the-firft power in the world. 

To read what was approaching in Ireland, in the black 
and bloody chara<5ters of the American war, was a painful, 
but it was a neceffary part of my public duty. For, gentle- 
men. 



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PREVIOUS TO THE ELECTION. 285 

men, it is not your fond defires or mine that can alter the 
nature of things ; by contending againft which what have 
we got, or (hall ever get, but defeat and fhame ? I did not 
obey your inftrucSlions : No. I conformed to the inftru6lions 
of truth and nature, and maintained your intereft, againft 
your opinions, with a conftancy that became me, A repre- 
fentative worthy of you, ought to be a perfon of (lability. 
I am to look, indeed, to your opinions ; but to fuch opinions 
as you and I mujl have five years hence. I was not to look 
to the flafh of the day. I knew that you chofe me, in my 
place, along with others, to be a pillar of the ftate, and not 
a weathercock on the top of the edifice, exalted for my levity 
and verfatility, and of no ufe but to indicate the (hiftings of 
every falhionable gale. Would to God, the value of my 
fentiments on Ireland and on America had been at this day 
a fubjedt of doubt and difcuflion ! No matter what my fuf- 
ferings had been, fo that this kingdom had kept the autho- 
rity I wifhed it to maintain, by a grave forefight, and by an 
equitable temperance in the ufe of its power. 

The next article of charge on my public condu<Sf,^nd' 
that which I find rather the moft prevalent of all, is lord 
Beauchamp's bill, I mean his bill of laft feflion, for reform- 
ing the law-procefs concerning imprifonment. It is faid, 
to aggravate the offence, that I treated the petition of this 
city with contempt even in prefenting it to the houfe, and 
exprefled myfelf in terms of marked difrefpe6t. Had this 
latter part of the charge been true,, no merits on the fide of 
the queftion which I took, could poflibly excufe me. But I 
am incapable of treating this city with difrefpciSl, Very 
fortunately, at this minute (if my bad eyefight does not de- 
ceive me) * the worthy gentleman deputed on this bullnefs 
(tands diredtly before me. To him I appeal, whether 1 did 

♦ Mr. Williams. 

not, , 



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a86 SPEECH AT BRISTOL 

not, though it miUtated with my oldeft and my moft Mccnt 
public opinions, deliver the petition with a ftrong, and mone 
than ufual recommendation to the confideratioa of the 
houfe, on account of the chara(fl:erand confequence of thofe 
who figned if, I believe the worthy gentleman will teU you, 
that the very day I received it, I applied to the folicitor, 
now the attorney general, to give it an immediate conli- 
deration ; and he moft obligingly and inftantly confented to 
employ a great deal of his very valuable time, to write an 
explanation of the bill. I attended the committee with all 
poflible care and diligence, in order that every objedtion of 
yours might meet with a folution ; or produce an altera- 
tion. I entreated your learned recorder (always ready in 
bufinefs in which you take a concern) to attend. But what 
will you fay to thofe ^vho blame me for fupporting lord 
Beauch amp's bill, as a difrefpedful treatment of your peti- 
tion, when you hear, that out of refi>edl to you, I myfelf 
M^as the caufe of the lofs of that very bill f for the noble 
lord who brought it in, and who, I muft fay, has much 
merit for this and fome other meafures, at my requeft con- 
fented to put it off for a week, which the fpeaker*s illnefs 
lengthened to a fortnight; and then the frantic tumult 
about j)opery, drove that and every rational bulinefs from 
the houfe. So that if I chofe to make a defence of myfelf 
on the little principles of a culprit, pleading in his exculpa- 
tion, 1 might not only fecure my acquittal, but make merit 
with the oppofers of the bill. But I fhall do no fuch thing. 
The truth is, that I did occafion the lofs of the bill, and by 
a delay caufed by my refpedt to you. But fuch an event 
was never in my contemplation. And I am fo far from 
taking credit for the defeat of that meafure, that I cannot 
fufficiently lament my misfortime, if but one man, who 
ought to be at large, has paffed a year in prifon by my 
means. I am a debtor to the debtors. I confefs judgment. 
9 I owe. 



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PREVIOUS TO THE ELECTION. 287 

I owe, what, if ever it be in my power, I fliall moft cer- 
tainly payy— ample atonement, and ufurioiis amends to 
liberty and humanity for my unhappy lapfe. For, gentle- 
men, lord Beauchamp^s bill was a law of juftice and policy, 
as far as it went ; I fay as far as it went, for its fault was its 
being, in the remedial part, miferably defedive. 

There are two capital faults in our law with relation to 
civil debts. One is, that every man is prefumed folvent* 
A preftimption, in innumerable cafes, dire^ly againft 
truths Therefore the debtor is ordered, on a fuppofition 
of ability and fraud, to be coerced his liberty until he 
makes payments By this means, in all cafes of civil infold- 
vency, without a pardon from his creditor, he is to be im- 
prifoned for life i — and thus a miferable miftaken invention 
€>f artificial fcience, operates to change a civil into a crimi* 
nil judgment, and to fcourge misfortune or indifcretion 
with a punilhment which the law does not inflidt on the 
greateft crimes. 

The next fault is, that the infliiSking of that punifhment 
IS not on the opinion of an equal and public judge ; but is 
referred to the arbitrary difcretion of a private, nay in- 
terefted, and irritated, individual. He, who formally is, 
and fubftantially ought to be,, the judgfe, is in reality no 
snore t&an minifterial, a mere executive inftrument of a 
private man, who is at once judge and party. Every idea 
of judicial order is fubverted by this procedure. If the in- 
Iblvency be no crime, why is it punifhed with arbitrary 
imprifonment ? If it be a crime, why is it delivered into 
private hands to pardon without difcretion, or to punifli 
without mercy and without meafure ? 

To thefe faults, grofs and cruel faults in our law, the ex- 
cellent principle of lord Beauchamp's bill applied fome fort 
©f remedy. I know that credit muft be preferved ; but 

equity 



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a88 SPEECHAT BRISTOL 

equity muft be preferved too ; and it is impoflible, that any 
thing (hould be neceffary to commerce, which is iiiconfiftent 
with juftice. The principle of credit was not weakened 
by that bill. God forbid ! The enforcement of that credit 
was only put into the fame public judicial hands on which 
we depend for our lives, and all that makes life dear to us. 
But, indeed, this bufinefs was taken up too waurmly both 
here and elfewhere. The bill was extremely miftaken. It 
was fuppofed to enadt what it never enadled ; and complaints 
were made of claufes in it as novelties, which exifted before 
the noble lord that brought in the bill was born. There 
was a fallacy that run through the whole of the objedtions^ 
The gentlemen who oppofed the bill, always argued, as if the 
option lay between that bill and the antient law. — But this 
is a grand miftake. For pradtically, the option is between, 
not that bill and the old law, but between that bill and thofe 
occafional laws called adts of grace. For the operation of 
the old law is fo favage, and fo inconvenient to fociety, that 
for a long time paft, once in every parliament, and lately 
twice, the legiflature has been obliged to make a general 
arbitrary jail-delivery, and at once to fet open, by its fove- 
reign authority, all the prifons in England* 

Gentlemen, I never relifhed adts of grace ; nor ever fub- 
mitted to them but from defpair of better. They are a 
dilhonourable invention, by which, not from humanity, 
not from policy; but merely becaufe we have not room 
enough to hold thefe victims of the abfurdity of our laws, 
we turn loofe upon the public three or four thoufand 
naked wretches, corrupted by the habits, debafed by the 
ignominy of a prifon. If the creditor had a right to thofe 
carcafes as a natural fecurity for his property, I am fure we 
have no right to deprive him of that fecurity. But if the 
few pounds of fiefh were not neceflary to his fecurity, we 

had 



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PREVIOUS TO THE ELECTION- 289 

had not a right to detain the unfortunate debtor, without 
any benefit at all to the perfon who confined him. — Take it 
as you will, we conrjmit injuftice. Now lord Beauchamp's 
bill intended to do deliberately, and with great caution and 
circumfpedlion, upon each feveral cafe, and with all atten- 
tion to the juft claimant, what a6ts of grace do in a much 
greater meafure, and with very little care, caution, or 
deliberation* 

I fufpedt that here too, if we contrive to oppofe this bill, 
we fhall be found in a ftruggle againft the nature of things. 
For as we grow enlightened, the public will not bear, for 
any length of time, to pay for the maintenance of whole 
armies of prifoners ; nor, at their own expence, fubmit to 
keep jails as a fort of garrifons, merely to fortify the abfutd 
principle of making men judges in their own caufe. For 
credit has little or no concern in this cruelty. I fpeak 
in a commercial aflembly. You know that credit is 
given, becaufe capital mujl be employed : that men calcu- 
late the chances of infolvency ; and they either withhold 
the credit, or make the debtor pay the rifque in the 
price. The counting-houfe has no alliance with the jaiL 
Holland underftands trade as well as we, and fhe has done 
much more than this obnoxious bill intended to do. There 
was not, when Mr. Howard vifited Holland, more than one 
prifoner for debt in the great city of Rotterdam. Although 
lord Beauchamp's a<5t (which was previous to this bill, and 
intended to feel the way for it) has already preferved liberty 
to thoufands ; and though it is not three years fince the laft 
adt of grace pafled, yet by Mr. Howard's laft account, there 
were near three thoufand again in jail. I cannot name this 
gentleman without remarking, that his labours and writings 
have done much to open the eyes and hearts of man- 
kind. He has vifited all Europe,— not to furvey the fump- 
tuoufnefs of palaces, or the ftatelinefs of temples ; not to 

Vol. IL P p make 



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290 SPEECH AT BRISTOL 

make accurate meafurements of the remains of antient 
grandeur, not to form a fcale of the, curlofity of modem 
att ; not to coUedt medals, or collate manufcrit>ts : -*- but 
to dive into the depths of dungeons ; to plunge into the in* 
fedtion of hofpitals j to furvey the mansions of forrow and 
pain ; to take the gage and dimeniions of inifery, de- 
preffion, and contempt ; to remember the forgotten^ to at- 
tend to the negleifled, to vilit the forfaken, and to compare 
and collate the diftrefles of all men in all cotintries. His 
plan is original ; and it is as full of genius as it is of htmia* 
nily. It was a voyage of difcovery ; a circumnavigation of 
charity. Already the benefit of his labour is felt more or 
lefs in every country : I hope he will anticifiate his final 
tewafd, by feeing all its effedts fully realised in his own. 
He will receive, not by retail but in groft, the reward of 
thofe who vifit the prifoner; and he has fo foreftalled and 
monopolized this branch of ch^ty, that there will be, I 
truft^ little room to merit by fuch a(Sts of betievolence here* 
aftei-. 

Nothing remains now to trouble you with, but the 
fourth charge againft me — the bufinefs of the ftqman Ca- 
tholics. It is a bufinefs clofely connedted with dbe reft. 
They are all on one and the fame principle. My Iktle 
£:heme of comdu^, fuch as it is, is all arranged* I -covild 
do nothing but what 1 have done on this fubjetSt, without 
confounding the whole train of my ideas, and difturbing 
the whole order of my life^ Gentlemen^ 1 ought to apologize 
to you, for feeming to think any thing at all neceffary to be 
faid upon this matter. The calumny is fitter to be fcrawled 
with the midnight chalk of incendiaries, with "^^ No pope* 
*^ ry,'' on walls and doors of devoted houfes, than to be men- 
tioned in any civilifcd company. I had heard, that the ipirit 
of difcontent on that fubje<St was very prevalent here. With 

pteafure 



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PREVIOUS TO THE ELECTION. S91 

pleafure I find that I have been grofsly miiinformed. If it 
exifts at all in this city, the laws have crufhed its exertions, 
and oqr morals have Ihamed its appearance in day-light. I 
have ]>urrued this fpirit wherever I could trace it ; but it 
ftill fled from me. It was a ghoft, which all had heard of, 
but none had feen. None would acknowledge that he 
thought the public proceeding with regard to our Catholic 
diffenters to be blameable ; but feveral were forry it had 
i3iade an ill impreflion upon others, and that my intereft 
wa^ hurt by my ftiare in the bufinefs. I find with fatif- 
f action and pride, that not above four or five Jxi this city 
(and I dare fay thefc mifled by fome grofs roifreprefenta- 
tion) have figned that fymbol of delufion and bond of 
fedition, that libel on the national religion and Englifh cha^ 
rad^er, the Proteftant Aiibciation. It is therefore, gientk* 
men, not by way of piu-e but of prevention, %nd Ijjft the 
arts of widted men may prevail over the integrity of a^^7 
one amongft us, that I think it necejQTary to opefi to you the 
merits of this trania^ion pretty much at large ; and I beg 
your patience upofi it ; for* although the reafonings that 
have been ufcd to depreciate the »<5l afie of little force, an4 
though the authority of the men conceiiaed in this ill der- 
fign is not very impofing ; yet the audacioufhefs of jhefc 
oonfpirators againft the national honour, aad thf extpufiv* 
wickednefs of their attempts, have raifi?d perfons of little 
importantce to a degree of (evil eminejaoe, ai»d imparted 
a fort of .^Jiter dignity to proceedings th«<t had tb#k origin 
in only the mmaeft »nd blindeft m,ali<Ge. 

Itt ext**i«i"g t<> y-w fhe proceedings ofpixliBrnfot wh^fk- 
have be«a compfeiwed of, I will ^^p to ypu,trr*rft^ itjijie 
thing that wa^ 4«9e5— next, tb« pftrf^^s who ^ ^irm 
and laftly, the grounds and reafons upon which the ki&r- 

P p 2 ilature 



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292 SPEECH AT BRISTOL 

flature proceeded in this deliberate ad of public juftice and 
public prudence. 

Gentlemen, The condition of our nature is fuch, that we 
buy our bleffings at a price. The Reformation, one of the 
greateft periods of human improvement, was a time of 
trouble and confufion. The vaft ftrudlure of fuperftition and 
tyranny, which had been for ages in rearing, and which 
was combined with the intereft of the great and of the 
many; which was moulded into the laws, the manners, 
and civil inftitutions of nations, and blended with the frame 
and policy of Hates; could not be brought to the ground 
without a fearful ftruggle ; nor could it fall without a vio- 
lent concuflicTn of itfelf and all about it. When this great 
revolution was attempted in a more regular mode by go- 
vernment, it was oppofed by plots and feditions of the 
people ; when by popular efforts, it was reprefled as rebel- 
lion by the hand of power ; and bloody executions (often 
bloodily returned) marked the whole of its progrefs 
through all its ftages. The affairs of religion, which are no 
longer heard of in the tumult of our prefent contentions, . 
made a principal ingredient in the wars and politics of that 
time ; the enthuliafm of religion threw a gloom over the po- 
litics; and political interefts poifoned and perverted thefpirit 
of religion upon all fides. The Proteflant religion in that 
violent flruggle, infected, as the Popifh had been before, by 
worldly interefts and worldly paffions, became a perfecutor 
in its turn, fometimes of the new fe<Sts, which carried their 
own principles further than it was convenient to the origi- 
nal reformers ; and always of the body from whom they 
parted; and this perfecuting fpirit arofe, not only, from 
the bitternefs of retaliation, but from the mercUefs policy 
of fear. 

It 



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PREVIOUS TO THE ELECTION. 293 

It was long before the fpirit of true piety and true wif- 
dom, involved in the principles of the Reformation, could 
be depurated from the dregs and feculence of the conten- 
tion with which it was carried through. However, until this 
be done, the Reformation is not complete ; and thofe who 
think thernfelves good Proteftants, from their animofity to 
others, are in that refpedt no Proteftants at all. It was at 
firft thought neceflary, perhaps, to oppofe to Popery ano- 
ther Popery, to get the better of it- Whatever was the 
caufe, laws were made in many countries, and in this king- 
dom in particular, againft Papifts, which are as bloody as 
any of thofe which had been enadted by the popifti princes 
and ftates ; and where thofe laws were not bloody, in my 
opinion, they were worfe ; as they were flow, cruel out- 
rages on our nature, and kept men alive only to infult in 
their perfons, every one of the rights and feelings of hu- 
manity. I pafs thofe ftatutes, becaufe I would fpare your 
pious ears the repetition of fuch fliocking things ; and I 
come to that particular law, the repeal of which has pro* 
duced fo many unnatural and unexpedled confequences. 

A ftatute was fabricated in the year 1699, by which the 
faying mafs (a church-fervice in the Latin tongue, not 
exactly the fame as our liturgy, but very near it, and con^- 
taining no offence whatfoever againft the laws, or againft: 
good morals) was forged into a crime punifliable with per- 
petual imprifonment* The teaching fchool, an ufeful and 
virtuous occupation, even the teaching in a private family, 
was in every Catholic fubje(Sted to the fame un proportioned 
punifhment. Your induftry, and the bread of your chil- 
dren, was taxed for a pecuniary reward to ftimulate avarice 
to do what nature refufed, to inform and profecute on this 
law. Every Roman Catholic was, under the fame a6t, to? 
forfeit his eftate to* his neareft Proteftant relation, untD, 

through 



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294 SPEECH AT BRISTOL 

through a profeflion of what he did not believe, he re- 
■deemed by his hypocrify, what the law had transferred to 
the kinfman as the recompence of his profligacy. When 
thus turned out of doors from his paternal eftate, he was 
difabled from acquiring any other by any induftry, dona- 
tion, or charity ; but was rendered a foreigner in his native 
land, only becaufe he retained the religion, along with the 
proi)erty, handed down to him from thofe who had been 
the old inhabitants of that land before him. 

Does any one who hears me approve this fcheme of 
things, or think there is common juftice, common fenfe, or 
common honefty in any part of it ? If any does, let him 
fay it, and I am ready to difcufs the point with temper and 
candour. But inftead of approving, I perceive a virtuous 
indignation beginning to rife in your minds on the mere 
cold Hating of the ftatute. 

But what will you feel, when you know from hiftory 
how this ftatute palled, and what were the motives, and 
what the mode of making it ? A party in this nation, ene- 
mies to the fyftem of the revolution, were in oppofition to 
the government of king William. They knew, that our 
g^rious deliverer was an enemy to all perfecution. They 
knew that he came to free us from flavery and x)opery, out 
of a country, where a third of the people are contented Ca- 
tholics under a iPioteftant government. He came with a 
part of his array compofed of thofe very Catholics, to ovcr- 
fel the power of a popifli prince. Such is the effedt of a 
ix^erating fpiiit: and io much is liberty ferved in every 
way, and by all perfons, by a manly adherence to its own 
principles. Whilft freedom is true to itfelf, every thing 
becOBies fubje<^ to k; and its very adverferies are an inftru- 
meQt in its hand&. 

The party I fpeak cf (like fome amongft us who would 

4 difparage 



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PREVIOUS TO THE ELECTION. 295 

difparage the beft friends of their country) refolved to 
make the king either violate his principles of toleration, or 
incur the odium of prote^bing Papifts. They therefore 
brought in this bill, and made it purpofely wicked and ab- 
furd that it might be rejected. The then court-party, dif- 
covering their game, tmrned the tables on them, and 
returned their bill to them ftufFed with ftill greater abfurdi- 
ties, that its lofs might lie upon its original authors. They, 
finding their own ball thrown back to them, kicked it back 
again to their adverfaries. And thus this a(5t, loaded with 
the double injuflice of twa parties, neither of whom in- 
tended to pafs, what they hoped the other would be per- 
fuaded to reject, went through the legiflature, contrary to 
the real wi(h of all parts of it, and of all the parties that 
compofed it. In this manner theCe iniblen-t and profligate 
factions, as if they were playing with balls aind conntersr 
made a fport of the fortunes and the liberties of their 
fellow creatures. Other aits of perfecutipn have bc^i a<£ks^ 
of malice, lliij was a fubverlion of juftjee from wantpn- 
nt& and petulance. Look into the hiibary of bifhop Burnet. 
He is a witnefs without except»>n. 

The GS6£ks of the acSi: have been a$ mifchievous, aB its 
origin was ludicrous and fhameful. From that time every 
perfon of that rommunion, lay and ecdeitaftic, has been 
obliged to fly from the face of day. The clergy, con- 
cealed in garrets of private houfes, or obliged to take a 
flielter (hardly fafe to themifelveSf but infinitely dangerous 
to their country) under the pmileges of foreign miniftprs, 
officiated as their fervants, and under their prortsedtion. The 
whole body of the Catholics, condemned to beggary and -to 
ignorance in thtir native land, have been obliged to iearn 
the principles of letters, at the hazard of all liieir other 
principlesj from the charity of your enemies. They have 

beea 



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296 SPEECH AT BRISTOL 

been taxed to their ruin at the pleafure of neceflitous and 
profligate relations^ and according to the meafure of their 
neceflity and profligacy. Examples of this are many and 
afFecfling* Some of them are known by a friend who 
Hands near me in this hall. It is but fix or feven years 
fince a clergyman of the name of Malony, a man of morals, 
neither guilty nor accufed of any thing noxious to the ftate, 
was condemned to perpetual imprifonment for exerciling 
the fun6lions of his religion ; and after lying in jail two or 
three years, was relieved by the mercy of government from 
perpetual imprifonment, on condition of perpetual banifh- 
ment. A brother of the earl of Shrewlbury, a Talbot, 
a name refpedlable in this country, whilft its glory is 
any part of its concern, was hauled to the bar of the Old 
Bailey among common felons, and only efcaped the fame 
doom, either by fome error in the procefs, or that the 
wretch who brought him there could not corre<5lly defcribe 
his perfon ; I now forget which.— In Ihort, the perfecution 
would never have relented for a moment, if the judges, 
fuperfeding (though with an ambiguous example) the 
ftri£t rule of their artificial duty by the higher obligation of 
their confcience, did not conftantly throw every difficulty 
in the way of fuch informers. But fo inefFedtual is the 
power of legal evafion againft legal iniquity, that it was but 
the other day, that a lady of condition, beyond the middle 
of life, was on the point of being ftripped of her whole 
fortune by a near relation, to whom ftie had been a friend 
and benefactor: and fhe muft have been totally ruined, 
without a power of redrefs or mitigation from the courts of 
law, had not the iegiflature itfelf ruftied in, and by a fpecial 
a6t of parliament refcued her from the injuftice of its own 
ftatutes. One of the adls authorifing fuch things was that 
which we in part repealed, knowing what our duty was ; 

and 



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PREVIOUS TO THE ELECTION. 297 

and doing that duty as men of honour and virtue, as good 
Proteftants, and as good citizens. Let him ftahd forth that 
difapproves what we have done ! 

Gentlemen, bad laws are the worft fort of tyranny. In 
fuch a country as this, they are of all bad things the worft, 
worfe by far than any where elfe,; and they derive a parti- 
cular malignity even from the wifdom and foundnefs of the 
reft of our inftitutions. For very obvious reafons you can- 
not truft the crown with a difpenfing power over any of 
your laws. However, a government, be it as bad as it may, 
will, in the exercife of a difcretionary power, difcriminate 
times and perfons ; and will not ordinarily purfue any man, 
when its own fafety is not concerned. A mercenary in- 
former knows no diftindlion. Under fuch a fyftem, the ob- 
noxious people are flaves, not only to the government, but 
they live at the mercy of every individual ; they are at once 
the flaves of the whole community, and of every part of it; 
and the worft and moft unmerciful men are thofe on whofe 
goodnefs they moft depend. 

In this fituation men not only ftirink from the frowns of 
a ftern magiftrate ; but they are obliged to fly from their 
very fpecies. The feeds of deftrndtion are fown in civil in- 
tercourfe, in focial habitudes. The blood of Wholefome 
kindred is infe6ted. Their tables and beds are fiirrounded 
with fnares. All the means given by Providence to make 
life fafe and comfortable, are perverted into inftruments of 
terror and torment. This fpecies of univerfal fubferviency, 
that makes the very fervant who waits behind your chair, 
the arbiter of your life and fortune, has fuch a tendency to 
degrade and abafe mankind, and to deprive them of that af- 
fured and liberal ftate of mind, which alone can make us 
what we ought to be, that I vow to God I would Jboner 
bring myfelf to put a man to immediate death for opinions 

Vol. IL Q q I difliked, 



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298 SPEECH AT BRISTOL 

I diilikedy and fo to get rid of the man and his opinions at 
once, than to fret him with a feverifli being, tainted with 
the jail-diftemper of a contagious fervitude, to keep him 
above ground, an animated mafs of putrefa£bion, corrupted 
himfelf, and corrupting all about him. 

The ack repealed was of this direct tendency ; and it was 
made in the manner which 1 have related to you. I will 
now tell you by whom the bill of repeal was brought into 
parliament. I find it has been induftrioufly given out in 
this city (from kindnefs to me unqueftionably) that I was 
the mover or the feconder. The faft is, I did not once open 
my lips on the fubjeck during the whole progrefs of the bill. 
I do not fay this as difclaiming my (hare in that meafure. 
Very far from it. I inform you of this fa<5l, left I (hould feem 
to arrogate to myfelf the merits which belong to others. To 
have been the man chofen out to redeem our fellow-citizens 
from ilavery ; to purify our laws from abfurdity and injuf- 
tice ; and to cleanfe our religion from the blot and ftain of 
perfecution, would be an honour and happinefs to which 
my wifhes would undoubtedly afpire ; but to which nothing 
but my wifhes could poflibly have entitled me. That great 
work was in hands in every refpeiSfc far better qualified 
than mine. The mover of the bill was Sir George Savile* 

When an aiSi of great and fignal humanity was to be done, 
and done with all the weight and authority that belonged to 
it, the world could caft its eyes upon none but him. I hope 
that few things, which have a tendency to blefs or to adorn 
life, have wholly efcaped my obfervation in my paflage 
through it. I have fought the acquaintance of that gentle- 
man, and have feen him in all fituations. He is a true ge- 
nius ; with an underftanding vigorous, and acute, and re- 
fined, and diftinguilhing even to excefs; and illuminated 

with 



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PREVIOUS TO THE ELECTION- 29^ 

with a moft unbounded, peculiar, and original caft of ima- 
gination. With thefe he poflefles many external and in- 
ftrumental advantages ; and he makes ufe of them all. His 
fortune is among the largeft; a fortune which, wholly un- 
incumbred, as it is, with one fingle charge from luxury, va- 
nity, or excefs, finks under the benevolence of its difpenfen 
This private benevolence, expanding itfelf into patriotifm, 
renders his whole being the eftate of the public, in which 
he has not referved a peculium for himfelf of profit, diver- 
fion, or relaxation. During the feffion, the firft in, and the 
lafl out of the houfe of commons ; he pafTes from the fe- 
nate to the camp ; and, feldom feeing the feat of his ancef- 
tors, he is always in parliament to ferve his country, or in 
the field to defend it. But in all well-wrought compofi- 
tions, fome particulars fland out more eminently than the 
refl ; and the things which will carry his name to pofterity, 
are his two bills ; I mean that for a limitation of the claims 
of the crown upon landed efliates; and this for the relief of 
the Roman Catholics. By the former, he has emancipated 
property; by the latter, he has quieted confcience; and by 
both, he has taught that grand lefTon to government and 
fubjedt, — no longer to regard each other as adverfe par- 
ties. 

Such was the mover of the adl that is complained of by 
men, who are not quite fo good as he is ; an aft, moft af- 
furedly not brought in by him from any partiality to that 
fedt which is the objedt of it. For, among his faults, I 
really cannot help reckoning a greater degree of prejudice 
againfl that people, than becomes fo wife a man. I know 
that he inclines to a fort of difguft, mixed with a confider- 
able degree of afperity, to the fyftem ; and he has few, or . 
rather no habits with any of its profelTors. What he has 
done was on quite other motives. The motives were thefe, 

Q q 2 which 



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jQQ SPEECH AT BRISTOL 

which he declared in his exceUent fpeech on his motion for 
the bill ; namely, hia extreme zeal to the Proteftant religion, 
which he thought utterly difgraced by the a(Sl of 1699; and 
his rooted hatred to all kind of oppreffion, under any colour 
or upon any pretence whatfoever. 

The feconder was worthy of the mover, and the motion, 
r wa§ not the feconder ; it was Mr. Dunning, Recorder of 
this city. I fliall fay the lefs of him, becaufe his near relar-. 
tion to you makes you more particularly acquainted witli 
his merits. But I fliould appear little acquainted with them, 
or little fenfible of them, if I could utter his name on this 
occafion without expieffing my efteem for his charaiSter. I 
am not afraid of offending a moft learned body, and mofl: 
jealous of its reputation for that learning,, when I fay he is 
the firft of his profeflion. It is a point fettled by thofe who 
fettle every thing elfe ; and I muft add (what I am enabled 
to fay from my own long andclofe obfervation) that there 
is not a man, of any profeflion> on in any fituation, of a 
more ereft and independent fpirit ; of a more proud honour; 
a more manly mind ; a more firm and determined integrity. 
Affure yourfelves, that the names of two fuch men will bejar 
a great load of prejudice in the other fcale, before they can 
be entirely outweighed. 

With this mover, and this feconder, agreed the wbole 
houfe of commons ; the wbole houfe of lords ; the wbole 
bench of bifhops ; the king; the miniftry ; the oppolition ; 
all the diftinguilhed clergy of the eftablifhment ; all the 
eminent lights (for they were confulted) of the diffenting 
churches. This according voice of national wifdom ought 
to be liftened to with reverence. To fay that all thefe de- 
fcriptions of Englifhmenunanimoufly concurred in a fcheme 
for introducing the Catholic religion, or that none of them 
vmderftood the nature and effeds. of what they were doing, 

fo 



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PRlLVfbtrS TfO T^E ELECTION. sot 

fo Wfeil as Si fie# oWeure clUbs of peof)le, whofe i^iafnes yoii 
flev^«*'hefl*dof, is^ fhamelefsly abfurd. Surely it is paying a 
mife^able com^pliraent to the i*eligit)n we profefs, to fuggeft, 
that evdry thitog eminent iti the kingdom is indifferent, or 
even; advdrfe ta that religion, and that its fecurity is wholly 
abafidbn^d to tlie' zeai'of thofe, wlrcf have nothing but their 
zeal to diilin^guifh tliem. In weighing thi$ unanimous con-, 
curretice of whatever the nation* has to boaft of, I hope you 
will recolledt, that all thefe concurring parties do by no 
means love one another enough to agfee in any point, which 
was not both evidently, and importantly, right. 

To prove this ; to prove,' tliat the meafure was both clearly 
and materially proper, 1 will next lay before you (as I pro- 
itoifed) the political grounds arid reafons for the repeal of 
that penal ftatute ; and the motives to its repeal at that par- 
ticular titriei 

Gentlemen^ America-^-i-When the Ehglifh natibn feemed , 
to be dangeroufly, if not irrecoveral^y divided ; when one, . 
and that the moft growing branch, Was torn from the pa- 
rent ftock, and ingrafted on the power of France, a great 
terror fell upon this kingdorti. On a fudden we awakened 
ftomoiir dreams of conqueft, and faw ourfelves threatened 
with an immediate invalion ; whicH we were, at that time, 
very ill prepared to refift: You remember the cloud that 
gloomed over us all. In that hour of our difmay, from the 
bottom of the hiding-places, into which the ihdifcriminate 
rigour of our ftatutes had driven them, came out the body 
of the Roman Catholics'. They appeared before the jftcps of 
a tottering throne, with one of the moft ibber, meafured,. 
fteady, and dutiful addreffes, that was ever prefented to the 
crown. It was no holiday ceremony; no anniverfary com- 
pliment of paracle and ftiow; It wad fighed by almoft every 
gentleman of that perfuafion, of note or property, in Eng* 
§ ^and. 



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302 SPEECH AT BRISTOL 

land- At fuch a crifis, nothing but a decided refoluti«ci to 
ftand or fall with their country could have dictated fuch an 
addrefs ; the diredt tendency of which was to cut off all ire- 
treat ; and to render them peculiarly obnoxious to an in- 
vader of their own communion. The addrefs fhewed, what 
I long languilhed to fee, that all the fubje<Sts of England had 
caft off all foreign views and connexions, and that every man 
looked for his relief from every grievance, at the hands only 
of his own natural government. 

It was neceffary, on our part, that the natural government 
Ihould Ihew itfelf worthy of that name. It was neceffary, 
at the crifis I fpeak of, that the fupreme power of the ftate 
Ihould meet the conciliatory difpofitions of the fubje<a. To 
delay protedtion would be to reject allegiance. And why 
Ihould it be rejedted, or even coldly and fufpicioufly received? 
If any independent Catholic ftate ihould choofe to take part 
with this kingdom in a war with France and Spain, that 
bigot (if fuch a bigot could be found) would be heard with 
little refpedt, who could dream of objedling his religion to 
an ally, whom the nation would not only receive with its 
freeft thanks, but purchafe, with the laft remains of its ex- 
haufted treafure. To fuch an ally we fhould not dare to 
whifper a fingle fyllable of thofe bafe and invidious topics, 
upon which, fome unhappy men would perfuade the ftate, 
to rejedl the duty and allegiance of its own members. Is it 
then, becaufe foreigners are in a condition to fet our malice 
at defiance, that with tbem^ we are willing to contract en- 
gagements of friendlhip, and to keep them with fidelity and 
honour; but that, becaufe we conceive, fome defcriptions of 
our countrymen are not powerful enough to punifh our malig- 
nity, we will not permit them to fupport our common inte- 
reft? Is it on that ground, that our anger is to be kiudled^ by 

their 



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PREVIOUS TO THE ELECTION. 303 

their offered kindnefs ? Is it on that ground, that they are to 
be fubje6ted to penalties^becaufe they are willing, by adlual 
merit, to purge themfelves from imputed crimes ? Left by 
an adherence to the caufe of their country they Ihould ac- 
quire a title to fair and equitable treatment, are we refolved 
to furnifh them with caufes of eternal enmity ; and rather 
fupply them with juft and founded motives to difaffedlion, 
than not to have that difaffeiStion in exiftence to juftify an 
oppreflion, which, not from policy but difpofition, we have 
pre-determined to exercife ? 

What Ihadow of reafon could be affigned, why, at a time, 
when the moft Proteftant part of this Proteftant empire 
found it for its advantage to unite with the two principal 
Popifh ftates, to unite itfelf in the clofeft bonds with France 
and Spain, for our deftru6lion, that we fhould refufe to 
imite with our own Catholic countrymen for our own pre- 
fcrvation ? Ought we, like madmen, to tear off the plaifters^ 
that the lenient hand of prudence had fpread over the 
wounds and galhes, which in our delirium of ambition we 
had given to our own body ? No perfon ever reprobated the 
American war more than I did, and do, and ever ftialL But 
I never will con fen t that we Ihould lay additional voluntary 
p>enalties on ourfelves, for a fault which carries but toO' 
much of its own puniftiment in its own nature. For one, I 
was delighted with the propofal of internal peace. I ac- 
cepted the blefling with thankf ulnefs and tranfport ; I was 
truly happy, to find one good effedt of our civil diftradlions, 
that they had put an end to all religious ftrife and heart- 
burning in our own bowels. What muft be the fentiments 
of a man, who would wilh to perpetuate domeftic hoftility,. 
when the caufes of difpute are at an end ; and who, crying 
o\A for peace with one patt of the nation on the moft humi- 

bating; 



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304 SPEECH AT BRISTOL 

Hating terms, ftiould deny it to thofe, who offer frieadfhip 
without any terms at all ? 

But if I was unable to reconcile fuch a denial to the con- 
tracted principles of local duty, what anfwer could I give to 
the broad claims of general humanity ? I confefs to you 
freely, that the fufferings and diltreffes of the people of 
America in this cruel war, have at times affe6ted me 
more deeply than I can exprefs# I felt every Gazette of tri- 
umph as a blow upon my heart, which has an hundred 
times funk and fainted within . me at all the mifchiefs 
brought upon thofe who bear the whole brunt of war in the 
heart of their country. Yet the Americans are utter 
ftrangers to me; a nation, among whom I am not fure, that 
I have a fingle acquaintance. Was I to fufFer my mind to 
be fo unaccountably warped ; was I to keep fuch iniquitous 
weights and meafures of temper and of reaibn, as to fympa- 
thife with thofe who are in open rebellion againft an autho- 
rity which I refpe<5V, at war with a country which by every 
title ought to be, and is moft dear to me ; and yet to have no 
feeling at all for the hardlhips and indignities fuffered by 
mpn, who, by their very vicinity, are bound, np in a nearer 
relation to us ; who contribute their Ihare, and more than 
their Ihar^, to the common profperity ; who pearform the 
condmon offices of fecial life, and who obey the laws to the 
full as weU as I do? Gentlemen, the danger to the ftate be- 
ing out of the queftipn (of which, let me tell you, ftatefmen 
themfelves are apt to have but too exquifite a fenfe) I could 
affign no one reafon of juftice, policy, or feeling, for not 
concurring moft cordially, as moft cordially I did concur, in 
foftening fome part of that ftiameful fervitude, under which 
feveral of my worthy fellow-citizens were groaning. 

Important eflfeiSt? followed this, aft of wifdom. They ap- 
pear^di at home and abroad, to the great benefit of this king- 
dom; 



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PREVIOUS TO THE ELECTION. 305 

dom; and, let me hope, to the advantage of mankind at 
large. It betokened union among ourfelves. It fliewed 
foundnefs, even on the part of the perfecuted, which gene- 
rally is the weak fide of every community. But its moft ef- 
fential operation was not in England. The adl was imme- 
diately, though very imperfedtly, copied in Ireland ; and this 
imperfect tranfcript of an imperfect a(ft, this firft faint Iketch 
of toleration, which did little more than difclofe a principle, 
and mark out a difpofition, completed in a moft wonderful 
manner the re-union to the ftate, of all the Catholics of that 
country. It made us, what we ought always to have been, 
one family, one body, one heart and foul, againft the family- 
combination, and all other combinations of our enemies. 
We have indeed obligations to that people,, who received 
fuch fmall benefits with fo much gratitude; and for which 
gratitude and attachment to us, I am afraid they have fuf- 
fered not a little in other places. 

I dare fay, you have all heard of the privileges indulged 
to the IriQi Catholics refiding in Spain. You have likewife 
heard with what circumftances of feverity they have been 
lately expelled from the fea-ports of that kingdom ; driven 
into the inland cities ; and there detained as a fort of pri- 
foners of ftate. I have good reafon to believe, that it was 
the zeal to our government and our caufe, (fomewhat in- 
difcreetly exprefled in one of the addrefles of the Ca- 
tholics of Ireland) which has thus drawn down on their 
heads the indignation of the court of Madrid ; to the in- 
expreflible lofs of feveral individuals, and in future, per- 
haps, to the great detriment of the whole of their body. 
Now that our people fhould be perfecuted in Spain for 
their attachment to this country, and perfecuted in this 
country for their fuppofed enmity to us, is fuch a jarring 
reconciliation of contradictory diftrefles, is a thing at once 
fo dreadful and ridiculous, that no malice fhort of diaboli- 

Vou IL R r cal, 



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3o6 SPEECH AT BRISTOL 

cal, would wifli to continue any human creatures in fucli a 
fituation. But honeft men will not forget either their merit 
or their fufferings. There are men, (and many, I truft, 
there are) who, out of love to their country and their 
kind, would torture their invention to find excufes for the 
miftakes of their brethren; and who, to ftifle diflenlion, 
would conftrue, even doubtful appearances, with the utmoft 
favour : fuch men will never perfuade themfelves to be in- 
genious aiul refined in difcovering difaffe^Slion and treafon 
in the manifeft palpable figns of fuffering loyalty. Perfe- 
cution is fo unnatural to them, that they gladly fnatch the 
very firft opportunity of laying afide all the tricks and de- 
vices of penal politics ; and of returning home, after all their 
irkfome and vexatious wanderings, to our natural family 
manfion, to the grand (bcial principle, that unites all men, 
in all defcriptions, under the Ihadow of an equal and impar- 
tial juftice. 

Men of another fort, I mean the bigotted enemies to li- 
berty, may, perhaps, in their politics, make no account of 
the good or ill afFe6tion of the Catholics of England, who 
are but an handful of people (enough to torment, but not 
enough to fear) perhaps not fo many, of both fexes and of 
all ages, as fifty thoufand. But, gentlemen, it is poflible 
you may not know, that the people of that perfuafion in 
Ireland, amount at leaft to fixteen or feventeen hundred 
thoufand fouls. I do not at all exaggerate the number. A 
nation to be perfecuted ! Whilft we were matters of the fea,. 
embodied with America, and in alliance with half the 
powers of the continent, we might perhaps, in that remote 
corner of Europe, afford to tyrannife with impunity. But 
there is a revolution in our affairs, which makes it prudent 
to be juft. In our late awkward conteft with Ireland about 
trade, had religion been thrown in, to ferment and embitter 
I the 



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PREVIOUS TO THE ELECTION, 307 

the mafs of difcon tents, the confequences might have been 
truly dreadful. But very happily, that caufe of quarrel was 
previoufly quieted by the wifdom of the adls I am com- 
mending. 

Even in England, where I admit the clanger from the dif- 
content of that perfuafion to be lefs than in Ireland ; yet 
even here, had we liftened to the counfels of fanaticifm and 
folly, we might have wounded ourfelves very deeply; and 
wounded ourfelves in a very tender part. You are apprifed, 
that the Catholics of England confift moftly of your belt 
manufa(Sturers. Had the legiflature chofen, inftead of re- 
turning their declarations of duty with correfpondent good- 
will, to drive them to defpair, there is a country at their vqry 
door, to which they would be invited ; a country in all re* 
fpe6ls as good as ours, and with the fineft cities in the world 
ready built to receive them. And thus the bigotry of a 
free country, and in an enlightened age, would have repeo- 
pled the cities of Flanders, which, in the darknefs of two 
hundred years ago, had been defolated by the fuperftition of 
a cruel tyrant. Our manufadtures were the growth of the 
perfecutions in the Low Countries. What a fpedtacle would 
it be to Europe, to fee us at this time of day, balancing 
the account of tyranny with thofe very countries, and by 
our perfecutions, driving back trade and manufadture, as a 
fort of vagabonds, to their original fettlement ! But I truft 
we ftiall be faved this laft of difgraces. 

So far as to the efFedt of the a6l on the interefts of this 
nation. With regard to the interefts of mankind at large, I 
am fure the benefit was very confiderable. Long before 
this adl, indeed, the fpirit of toleration began to gain 
ground in Europe. In Holland, the third part of the people 
are Catholics ; they live at eafe ; and are a found part of the 
ftate. In many parts of Germany, Proteftants and Papifts 

R r a partake 



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3o8 SPEECH AT BRISTOL 

partake the fame cities, the fame councils, and even the 
fame churches. The unbounded liberality of the king of 
Pruffia^s condu6l on this occafion is known to all the world; 
and it is of a piece with the other grand maxims of his 
reign. The magnanimity of the imperial court, breaking 
through the narrow principles of its predeceflbrs, has in- 
dulged its proteftant fubjedts, not only with property, with 
worfhip, with liberal education ; but with honours and 
trufts, both civil and military* A worthy proteftant gentle- 
man of this country now fills, and fills \vith credit, an high 
office in the Auftrian Netherlands, Even the Lutheran 
obftinacy of Sweden has thawed at length, and opened a 
toleration to all religions. I know myfelf, that in France 
the Proteftants begin to be at reft. The army, which in 
that country is every thing, is open to them ; and fome of 
the military rewards and decorations which the laws deny,, 
are fupplied by others, to make the ferviee acceptable and 
honourable. The firft minifter of finance in that country, 
is a Proteftant. Two years war without a tax, is among the 
firft-fruits of their liberality. Tarniflied as the glory of 
this nation is, and as far as it has waded into the fhades of an 
eclipfe, fome beams of its former illumination ftill play upon 
its furface ; and what is done in England is ftiU looked to, 
as argument, and as example. It is certainly true, that no 
law of this country ever met with fuch univerfal applaufe 
abroad, or was fo likely to produce the perfedtion of that 
tolerating fpirit, which, as I obferved, has been long gain- 
ing ground in Europe; for abroad, it was univerfally 
thought that we had done, what, I am forry to fay, we had 
not; they thought we had granted a full toleration. That 
opinion was however fo far from hurting the Proteftant 
caufe, that I declare, with the moft ferious folemnity, my 
iirm belief,, that no one thing done for thefe fifty years 

paft> 



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PREVIOUS TO THE ELECTION. 309 

paft, was fo likely to prove deeply beneficial to our religion 
at large as Sir George Savile's a6t. In its effe6ts it was, " an 
•* adt for tolerating and proteiSting Proteftantifm throughout 
•' Europe f* and I hope, that thofe who were taking fteps 
for the quiet and fettlement of our Proteftant brethren in 
other countries, will even yet, rather confider the Heady 
equity of the greater and better part of the people of Great 
Britain, than the vanity and violence of a few. 

I perceive, gentlemen, by the noanner of all about me, 
that you look with horror on the wicked clamour which 
has been raifed on this fubjecSt ; and that inftead of an apo- 
logy for what was done, you rather demand from me an 
account, why the execution of the fcheme of toleration^ 
was not made more anfwerable to the large and liberal 
grounds on which it was taken up. The queftion is natu- 
ral and proper ; and I remember that a great and learned 
magiftrate*^, diftinguilhed for his ftrbng and fyftematic un- 
derftanding, and who at that time was a member of the 
houfe of commons, made the fame objedtion to the pro- 
ceeding. The ftatutes, as they now ftand, are, without 
doubt, perfectly abfurd* But I beg leave to explain the 
caufe of this grofs imperfe<Stion, in the tolerating plan, as 
well and as Ihortly as I am able. It was univerfally thought, 
that the feflion ought not to pafs over without doing Jome- 
thing in this biifmefs. To revife the whole body of the 
penal ftatutes was conceived to be an objedt too big for the 
time. 1 he penal ftatute therefore which was chofen for 
repeal (chofen to Ihew our difpofition to conciliate, not to 
j>erfect a toleration) was this a<St of ludicrous cruelty, of 
whicii I have juft given you the hiftory. It is an a<5t, 
which, though not by a great deal fo fierce and bloody as 
fonnie of the reft, was infinitely more ready iu the execution. 

* The Chanccllour* 

It 



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3T0 SPEECH AT BRISTOL 

It was the a£t which gave the greateft encouragement to 
thofe pefts of fociety, mercenary informers, and interefted 
difturbers of houfhold peace ; and it was obferved with 
truth, that the profecutions, either carried to convidtion or 
compounded, for many years, had been all commenced 
upon that ail. It was faid, that whilft we were delibe- 
rating on a more perfedt fcheme, the fpirit of the age would 
never come up to the execution of the llatutes which re- 
mained; efpecially as more fteps, and a co-operation of 
more minds and powers, v/ere required towards a mif- 
chievous ufe of them, than for the execution of the a<St to 
be repealed : that it was better to unravel this texture from 
below than from above, beginning with the lateft, which, 
in general pradlice, is the fevereft evil. It was alledged, 
that this flow proceeding would be attended with the ad-^ 
vantage of a progreffive experience; and that the people 
would grow reconciled to toleration, when they fliould find 
by the efFe6ts, that juftice was not fo irreconcileable an ene- 
my to convenience as they had imagined. 

Thefe, gentlemen, were the reafons why we left this 
good work in the rude unfiniflied ftate, in which good 
works are commonly left, through the tame circumfpedlioa 
with which a timid prudence fo frequently enervates benefi- 
cence. In doing good, we are generally cold, and languid, 
and fluggilh ; and of all things afraid of being too much in 
the right. But the works of malice and injuftice are quite 
in another ftyle. They are finiflied with a bold mafterly 
hand ; touched as they are with the fpirit of thofe vehement 
paflions that call forth all our energies whenever we opprefs 
and perfecute. 

Thus this matter was left for the time, with a full deter- 
mination in parliament, not to fufFer other and worfe ftatutes 
to remain for the purpofe of countera<5ting the benefits 

propofed 



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PREVIOUS TO THE ELECTION. 311 

propofed by the repeal of one penal law ; for nobody then 
dreamed of defending what was done as a benefit on the 
ground of its being no benefit at all. We were not then 
ripe for fo mean a fubterfuge. 

I do not wilh to go over the horrid fcene that was after- 
guards a<Sted. Would to God it could be expunged for ever 
from the annals of this country ! But lince it mull fubfifl 
for our fhame, let it fubfiil for our infl:ru6tion. In the year 
1780, there were found in this nation men deluded enough 
(for I give the whole to their delufion) on pretences of zeal 
and piety, without any fort of provocation whatfoever, 
real or pretended, to make a defperate attempt, which would 
have confumed all the glory and power of this country in 
the flames of London ; and buried all law, order, and reli- 
gion, under the ruins of the metropolis of the Proteftant 
world. Whether all this mifchief done, or in the direiSt 
train of doing, was in their original fcheme, I cannot fay ; 
I hope it was not ; but this would have been the unavoid- 
able confequence of their proceedings, had not the flames 
they had lighted up in their fury been extinguiOied in their 
blood. 

All the time that this horrid fcene was a6ting, or avenging, 
as well as for fome time before, and ever lince, the wicked 
inftigators of this unhappy multitude, guilty, with every 
aggravation, of all their crimes, and fcreened in a cowardly 
darknefs from their punifhment, continued, without inter- 
ruption, pity, or remorfe, to blow up the blind rage of the 
populace, with a continued blaft of peftilential libels, which 
infefted and poifoned the very air we breathed in. 

The main drift of all the libels, and all the riots, was, to 
force parliament (to perfuade us was hopelefs) into an a£t 
of national perfidy, which has no example. For, gentle- 
men, it is proper you Ihould all know w^hat infamy we 

efcaped 



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312 SPEECH AT BRISTOL 

efcaped by refufing that repeal, for a refufal of which, it 
feems, I, among others, ftand fome where or other accufecK 
When we took away, on the motives which I had the honour 
of ftating to you, a few of the innumerable penalties upon an 
opprefTed and injured people, the relief was not abfolute, but 
given on a ftipulation and compa<5l between them and us ; 
for we bound down the Roman Catholics with the moft fo- 
lemn oaths, to bear true allegiance to this government ; to ab- 
jure all fort of temporal power in any other; and to re- 
nounce, under the fame foleran obligations, the dodlrines 
of fyftematic perfidy, with which they flood (I conceive 
very unjuftly) charged. Now our modeft petitioners carne 
up to us, moft humbly praying nothing more, than that 
we Ihpuld break our faith without any one caufe what- 
foever of forfeiture afligned ; and when the fubjedls of this 
kingdom had, on their part, fully performed their engage- 
ment, we Ihould refufe, on our part, the benefit we had 
ftipulated on the performance of thofe very conditions that 
were prefcribed by our own authority, and taken on the 
fan6tion of our public faith — That is to fay, when we had 
inveigled them with fair promifes within our door, \ve 
were to Ihut it on them ; and, adding mockery to outrage 
— to tell them, " Now we have got you faft-— your cou- 
^' fciences are bound to a power refolved on your deftruc- 
*^ tion. We have made you fwear, that your religion ob- 
<^ liges you to keep your faith : fools as you are ! we will 
*^ now let you fee, that our religion enjoins us to keep no 
<^ faith with you." They who would advifedly call upon 
us to do fuch things, muft certainly have thought us not 
only a convention of treacherous tyrants, but a gang of the 
Idweft and dirtieft wretches that ever difgraced humanity. 
Had we done this, we Ihould have indeed proved, that there 
vftv^fome in the world whom no faith could bind ; and we 

fliould 



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PREVIOUS TO THE ELECTION. 313 

^o\jldli2Vc c^mviffe^d outfclves of that odious principle of 
which Papifbs ftood aceufed by thofe very favages, who 
wifhed us^ on that accufation^ to deliver them over to their 
fory. 

Ja this audacious tumult, when our very name and cha- 
rzikjsrj as gentlemen, was to be cancelled for ever along with 
the faith and honour of the nation, I, who had exerted my- 
felf very little on the quiet paffing of the bill,* thought it 
aecefiary then to come forward. I was not alone; but 
though fome diftinguilhed members on all fides, and parti- 
cularly on ours, added much to their high reputation by the 
part they took, on that day, (a part which will be remember- 
ed as long as honour, fpirit, and eloquence have eftimation 
in the world) I may and will value myfelf fo far, that yield- 
ing in abilities to many, I yielded in zeal to none. With 
warmth, and with vigour, and animated with a juft and na- 
tural indignation, I called forth every faculty that I poffefledi 
and I direcSfced it in every way which I could poflibly employ 
it. I laboured night and day. I laboured in parliament : I 
laboured out of parliament. If therefore the refolution of 
the houfe of commons, refufing to commit this a<5): of un- 
matched turpitude, be a Crime, I am guilty among the fore- 
moft. But indeed, whatever the faults of that houfe may 
have been, no one member was found hardy enough to pro- 
pofe fo infamous a thing ; and on full debate we paiTed the 
refolution againft the petitions with as much unanimity, as 
We had formerly paiTed the law of which thefe petitions dc- 
man^d the repeal. 

There was a circumftance (juftice will not fufFer me to 
pafs it over) which, if any thing could enforce the reafons I 
have given, would fully juftify the a6k of relief, arid render 
a repeal, or any thing like a repeal, unnatural> impofiible/ 
It was the behaviour of the perfecuted Roman Catholics un-» 

Vol. II. S f der 



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ii4 SPEECH AT BRISTOX 

der the adls of violence arvd brutal infolence, which thcjr 
fiiffered. I fiippofe there are not in London lefs tHan^ £ovar 
or five thoufand of that perl^iafion fronx my oduntry^ whoh 
do a great deal of the moft laborious works in the metropo-- 
lis ; and they chiefly inhabit thofe quarters^ which were the 
principal theatre of the fury of the bigotted m^loixidfti 
They are known to be men of ftrong arms, and quick feel- 
ings, and rtjore remarkable for a determined refolution, than, 
clear ideas, or much forefight^ But though provoked by 
every thing that can^ftir the blood of men^ their houfes and 
chapels in flames, and with the moft atrocious profanations 
ef every thing which they hold facred before their eyes, -not 
a hand was moved to retaliate, or even- to defend.. Had a 
eonflidt once begun, the rage of their perfecutors/ would, 
have redoubled 4 Thus fury encreafing by the reverberation 
of outrages, houfe being fired for houfe,.and church for 
chapel, r am convinced, that no power under heaven could 
have prevented a general conflagration;' and at this* day 
London would have been a tale.- But J am well informed^ 
and the thing fpeaks it, that their clergy exerted their whole 
influence to kefep their people in fuch a ftate of forbearance 
and quiet,. aS) when I look back, fills me with aftoniihment^' 
but not with' aftonifliment only;. Their merits on that, oc- 
cafion^ ought not to be forgotten ;.nor will they, when Eng- 
liflimen come to recollect themfdves* I am fure it were far 
more proper to have called them foith^and given them the 
thanks of both houfes of parliament, than to have fufFered 
thofe worthy clergymen, and excellent citizens, to be hunted 
into holes and corners, whilft' we are making low-nainded 
ifiquifitions into the number of theirpeople ; as if a tolerat-^ 
ing principle was never to prevail, unlefs we were very fure 
that only a few could poflibly take advantage of it* Butin-i- 
deed we are not yet well recovered of our fright. Our rea- 
9 Jbn, 



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PREVIOUS TO THE ELECTION, 315 

-fon, I truft, will return with our fecurity ; and this unfortu- 
nate teihper will pafs over like a cloud. 

Gentlemen^ I have now laid before you a few of the rea- 
fons for taking away the penalties of the a<5t 1699, and for 
refufing to eftablifh them on the riotous requifition of 1780. 
Becaufe I would not fuflfer any thing which may be for your 
fatisfa<5tion to efcapei permit me juft to touch on the objec- 
tions urged agiainft our a<S: and our refolves, and intended as 
a.juftification of the violence offered to both houfes. " Par- 
** liament," they affert, " was too hafty, and they ought, in 
*< fo eflential and alarming a change, to have proceeded 
« with a far greater degree of deliberation." The direct 
contrary. Parliament was too flow. They took fourfcore 
years to deliberate on the repeal of an a<5t which ought not 
to have furvived a fecond feflion. When at length, after a 
procrailination of near a century, the bufinefs was taken up, 
it proceeded in the moft public manner, by the ordinary 
ftages, and as flowly as a law fo evidently right as to be re- 
fitted by none, would naturally advance. Had it been read 
three times in one day, we fliould have fhewn only a be- 
coming readinefs to recognife by proteAion the undoubted 
dutiful behaviour of thofe whom we had but too long pu- 
niflied for ofifences of prefumption or conjefture. But for 
what end was that bill to linger beyond the ufual period of 
an unoppofed meafure ? Was it to be delayed until a rabble 
in Edinburgh fliould dilate to the church of England what 
meafure of perfecution was fitting for her fafety ? Was it to 
be adjourned until a fanatical force could be colle<5ted in 
London, fuflicient to frighten us out of all our ideas of po- 
licy and juftice ? Were we to wait for the profound le<ftures 
on the reafon of ftate, ecclefiaftical and political, which the 
Proteftant aflbciation have lince condefcended to read to us ? 
Or were we, feven hundred peers and commoners, the only 

S f a perfons 



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3i6 SPEECH AT BRISTOL 

perfons ignorant of the ribbald invectives which ocxaipy the 
place of argument in thofe remonftrances, which every man; 
of common obfervation had heard a thoufand times over, 
and a thoufand times over had defpifed ? All nien had before 
heard what they have to fay; and all men at this day know 
what they dare to do ; and I truft, all honeft men are equally 
influenced by the one, and by the other. 

But they tell us, that thofe our fellow-citizens, whofe 
chains we have a httle relaxed, are enemies to liberty and 
our free conftitution. — Not enemies, I prefume, to their 
own liberty. And as to the conftitution, until we give them 
fome Ihare in it, I do not know on what pretence we can 
examine into their opinions about a bufinefs in which they 
have no intereft or concern. But after all, are we equally 
fure, that they are adverfe to our conftitution, as that our 
ftatutes are hoftile and deftrudtive to them ? For my part, I 
have reafon to believe, their opinions and inclinations Jn 
that refpe<5t are various, exa(5tly like thofe of other men : 
and if they lean more to the crown than I, and than many 
of you think we ought, we muft remember, that he who 
aims at another's life, is not to be furprifed if he flies into 
any fan<5luary that will receive him. The tendernefs of the 
executive power is the natural afylum of thofe upon whom 
the laws have declared war ; and to complain that men are 
inclined to favour the means of their own fafety, is fo ab- 
furd, that one forgets the injuftice in the ridicule. 

I muft fairly tell you, that fo far as my principles are con- 
cerned, (principles, that I hope will only depart with my 
laft breath) that I have no idea of a liberty unconnedled 
with honefty and juftice. Nor do I believe, that any good 
conftitutions of government or of freedom, can find it ne- 
cefiary for their fecurity to doom any part of the people to 
a permanent flavery. Such a conftitution of freedom, if 

fuch 



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PREVIOUS TO THE ELECTION. 317 

fiich can be, is in effect no more than another name for the 
tyranny of the ftrongeft faftion ; and factions in republics 
have been, and are, full as capable as monarchs, of the 
moll cruel oppreffion and injuftice. It is but too true, that 
the love, and even the very idea, of genuine liberty, is 
extremely rare. It is but too true, that there are many^ 
whofe whole fdieme of freedom, is made up of pride, per- 
verfenefs, and infolence. They feel themfelves in a ftate of 
thraldom, they imagine that their fouls are cooped and cab- 
bined in, unlels they have fome man, or fome body of men^ 
dependent on their mercy. This defire of having fome one 
below them, defcends to thofe who are the very loweft of 
all,-^and a Proteftant cobler, debafed by his poverty, but 
exalted by his ftiare of the ruling church, feds a pride in 
knowing it is by his generofity alone, that the peer, whofe 
footman's inftep he meafures, is able to keep his chaplain 
from a jail.* This difpofition is the true Iburce of the paf^ 
fion, which many men in very humble life, have taken to 
the American war. Our fubjedts in America ; our colonies ; 
our dependants. This luft of party-power, is the liberty 
they hunger and thirft for; and this Syren fong of ambition, 
has charmed ears, that one wojild have thought were never 
organifed to that fort of muiic* 

This way, of profcribing the citizens by denominations and 
general defcriptions^ dignified by the name of reafon of ftate,. 
and fecurity for conftitutions and commonwealths, is nor- 
thing better at bottom, than the miferable invention of an 
ungenerous ambition, which would fain hold the facred 
tmft of power, without any of the virtues or any of the 
energies, that give a title to it ; a receipt of policy, made up 
pf a deteftable compound of malice, cowardice, and iloth*. 
They would govern men againft their will; but in that go- 
vernnient they would be difcharged from the exercife of 

vigilance> 



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3i8 SPEECH AT BRISTOL 

vigilaiice, providence, and fortitude; and therefore, that 
they may fleep )on their watch, they confent to take forae 
one divifion of the fociety into partnerfhip of the tyranny 
over the reft. But let government, in what form it may 
be, comprehend the whole in its juftice, and reftrain the 
fufpidous by its vigilance ; let it keep watch and ward ; let 
it difcover by its fagacity, and punifti by its firmnefs, aH 
delinquency againft its power, Whenever delinquency exifls 
•in the overt adts ; and then it will be as fafe as ever God 
and nature intended it ihould be. Grimes are the ads of 
individuals, and n^t of denominations ; «ad thwefore arbi* 
trarily to clafe men under general defcriptions^ in order to 
profcribe and punilh them in the lump for a prcfumed de- 
linquency^ of which perhaps but a part, perhaps none at 
ail, are guilty, is indeed a compendious method, and faves a 
world of trouble about proof; but fuch a method inftead of 
•bedng Jaw, is an adl of unnatural rebeUiori againft the legal 
dominion of reafon and juftice ; and this vice^ in any jOOU- 
ftitution that entertains it, at one time or other will certainly 
bring on its ruin. 

We are told that this is not a religious perfecution, and 
its abettors are loud in difclaiming all feverities on account 
of confcience. Very fine indeed ! then let it be fo ; they 
are not perfecutors ; they are only tyrants. With all my 
heart. I am perfedlly indifferent concerning the pretexts 
upon which we torment one another; or whether it be for 
the conftitutix)n of the church of England, or for the confti- 
tution of the ftate of England, that people choofe to make 
their fellow-creatures wretched* When we were fent into 
a place of authority, you that fent us had yourfelves but 
one commiffion to give. You coidd give us none to wrong 
or opprefs, or even to fuffer any kind of oppreffion or 
wrong, oa ajay grounds whatfoever ; not on political, as in 

the 



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PREVIOUS TO THE ELECTION. 319 

fiie affairs of America; not* on commercial, as in thofe of Ire-^ 
land ; not in civile as in the laws for debt; not in religious, as 
in the ftatutes againfl Proteftant or Catholic diflenters. The 
diverfified but conne<Sted fabric of univerfal juftice, is well 
cramped and bolted together in all its parts ; and depend 
upon it, I never have employed, and I never Ihall employ, 
any engine of power whfch may come into my hands, to 
wrench it afunder. AH fhall ftand, if I can help it, and all 
fhall ftand' connected. After all, to complete this work, 
much remains to be done; much in the Eaft, much in the 
Weft. But great as the work is, if our will be ready, our 
powers afte not deficients 

Since you have fufFere J me to trouble you fo much on 
this fubjedt; pennit me, gentlemen, to detain you a little 
longer. I am indeed moft folicitous to give you perfecSt fa- 
tisfa<5lion^ I find there are fome of a better and fofter na- 
ture than the perfons with whom I have fuppofed my felf in 
debate, who neither think ill of the acft of relief, nor by any 
means defire the repeal^ not aceufing but lamenting what was 
done,^ on account of the cohfequences, have frequently ex- 
jM-efled their wifli, that the latea£t-had never been made. 
Some of this defcription, and perfons of worthi I haVe met 
with in this city. They conceive,^ that the prejudices, what- 
ever they might be, of a large part of the people, ought not 
to have been fhocked ; that their opinions ought to have 
been ptevioufly taken, and much attended to ; and that 
thereby the late horrid fcenes- mi^a^ht hawe been pre* 
vented. • 

I confe^i my notions' are ^*^idely different ; and I never 
was Ifefs forry for any action of my life. I like the bill the 
better, on account of the events of all kinds that followed it; 
It relieved the real fufFerers ; it ftrengthened the ftate; and, 
by the diforders that enfued, we had clear evidence, that 

there 



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320 SPEECH AT BRISTOL 

there lurked a temper fomewherei which ought not to be 
foftered by the laws. No ill confequences whatever could 
be attributed to the ad: itfelf. We knew before hand, or we 
were poorly inftrudted, that toleration is odious to the intole- 
tant; freedom to oppreflbrs; property to robbers; and all 
kinds and degrees of profperity to the envious. We knew, 
that all thefe kinds of men would gladly gratify their evil 
difpofitions under the fandlion of law and religion, if they 
could : if they could not, yet, to make way to their obje(Sts, 
they would do their utmoft to fubvert all religion and all law» 
This we certainly knew. But knowing this, is there any 
reafon, becaufe thieves break in and fteal, and thus bring 
detriment to you, and draw ruin on themfelves, that I am to 
be forry that you are in poffeffion of ihops, and of ware- 
houfes, and of wholefome laws to protecSt them? Are you to 
build no houfes^ becaufe defperate men may pull them down 
upon their Own heads ? Or, if a malignant wretch will cut 
his own throat, becaufe he fees you give alms to the necef- 
iitous and deferving; ftiall his deftrudtion be attributed to 
your charity, and not to his own deplorable madnefs ? If 
we repent of our good aftions^ what, I pray you, is left for 
our fatilrs and follies? It is not the beneficence of the laws^ 
it is the unnatural temper which beneficence can fret and 
four, that is to be lamented. It is this temper which, by all 
rational means, ought to be fweetened and corrected. If fro- 
ward men ihould refufe this cure^ can they vitiate any thiag 
but themfelves? Does evil fo readt upon good, as not only to 
retard its motion, but to change its nature ? If it can fo ope- 
rate, then good men will always be in the power of the bad ; 
and virtue, by a dreadful reverfe of order, mull lie under 
perpetual fubjedtion and bondage to vice^ 

As to the opinion of the peojde, which fome think^ ia 

fiKih cafes, is to be implicitly obeyed; ne^: two years tran- 

4 quillity, 



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PREVIOUS TO THE ELECTION. ^i 

quillity, which followed the aa, and its inftant imitation in 
Ireland, proved abundantly, that the late horrible fpirit was. 
In a great noeafure, the efFea* of infidious art, and perverfe 
induftry, and grofs mifreprefentation. But fuppofe that the 
diilike had been much more deliberate, and much more ge- 
neral than I am perfuaded it was — When we know, that the 
opinions of even the grfeateft multitudes, are the flandard of 
rectitude, I ihall think myfelf obliged to make thofe opi- 
nions the matters of my confcience. But if it may be 
doubted whether Omnipotence itfelf is competent to alter 
the eflential conftitution of right and^vtrrong, fure lam, that 
fuch things, as they and I, are poileired of no fuch power; 
No man carries further than I do the policy of making go- 
vernment pleafing to the peojde. But the wideft range of 
this politic complaifance is confined within the limits of }uf- 
tice. I would not only confult the intereft of the people, 
but I would chearfully gratify their humours. We arc all 
a fort of children, that muft be foothed and managed. I 
think f am not aufterc or formal in my nature. I would 
bear, I would even myfelf play my part in, any innocent 
bufFooneries, to divert them. But I never will a6t the tyrant 
for their amufemcnt. If they will mix malice in their 
Iports, I fhall never confent to throw them any living, fenti- 
ent, creature whatfoever, nonot fomuch as a killing, to tor- 
ment. 

" But if I profefs all this impolitic fhibbornnefs, I may 
" chance never to be ele(fted into Parliam^snt." It is cer- 
tainly not pleafing to be .put out of the public ferviee. But 
I wifli to be a member of parliament, to have my Ibare of 
doing good, and refitting evil. It would therefore be abfurd 
to renounce my objedls, in order to obtain my feat. I de- 
ceive myfelf indeed rhoft gtofsly, if I had not much rather 
pals the remainder of my life hidden in the receffes of die 
Vol. II. T t dcepelt 



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S%* SPEECH AT BRISTOL 

deepeft obfeurity, feeding my mind even with the vifions 
■9nd imaginations of fuch things> than to be jdaced on the 
moil fp^lendid throne of the univerfC) tantalized with a de- 
nial of the practice of all which can make the greateft iitua- 
tion any other than the greateft curfe. Gentlemen, I have 
had my day. I can nev^ fufficiently exiNrefs my gratitude 
to you, for having iet me in a place, wherein I coold lend the 
ilighteft help to great and laudable defigns. If I have had 
my fhare, in any meafure giving quiet to private property, 
and private amfidence ; if by my vote I have aided in fe- 
curing to families the beft poffeffion, peace; if I have joined 
in reconciling kings to their fubje^ts, and fubje<^8 to their 
prince; if I have afiiftedto loofen the foreign holdings of 
the citizen, and taught him to look for his prote^ion to the 
laws of his country, and for his comfort to the goodwill of 
liis countrymen ;»-i-if I have thus taken my part with the 
beft of men. in the beft of their anions, I can ftiut the 
boc*^; — I might wifti to read a page or two more — but this 
is enough for my meafure. — ^I have not lived in vain. 

And now. Gentlemen, on this ferious day, when I come, 
as it were, to make up my account with you, let me take to 
myfclf foroe degree of honeft pride on the nature of the 
charges that are againft me. I do not here ftand before you 
accufed of venality, or of negledt of duty. It is not faid, 
that, in the long period of my fervice, I have, in a fingle 
inftance, facrificed the flighteft of your interefts to my am- 
bition, or to my fortune. It is not alledged, that to gratify 
any anger, or revenge of my own, or of my party, I have 
had a Ihare in wronging or oppreiling any defcription of 
men, or any one man in any defcription. No! the charges 
againft me, are all of one kind, that I have puftied the prin- 
ciples of general juftice and benevolence too far; further 
than a cautious policy would warrant ; and further than the 
2 opinions 



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KtEVTOUS TO THE ELECTION. 533 

opinions of many would go along with me.^-><^lii every acid- 
dent whidi may happen through life, in paioy in forrow, in 
depreffiony aiid diftrefs— I will call to mind this accufation; 
and be comforted. 

Gentlemen, I fulMXiit the whole to your judgment. Mr. 
Mayor, I thank you for the trouble you have taken on ttiis 
occafion. In your ftate of health, it is {mr^cularly obiigini^. 
If this company Should think it advifeable for me to with- 
draw, I ihall rdpedtfully retire ; if you think otherwife, I 
ihall go diredUy to the Council-houfe and to the Change^ 
and without a momisnf s delay, begin my canvaf^ 



Briilo^ Sept, 6, 1780. 

AT a great and refpec^able meeting of the friends of 
^^ Et)MUND BURKBj Efq. held at the Guildhall 

this day ; 

The Right Worfhipful the Mayor in the Chair ; 

' Refolved, That Mr. Burke, as a reprefentative for this 
pity, has done all poflible honour to himfelf as a fenator and 
a many and that we do heartily and honeftly approve of his 
conduct, as the refult of ian enlightened loyaky to his fove- 
reign ; a warm and zealous love to his country, through ita 
widely-extended empire ; a jealous and watchful care of the 
liberties of his fellow-fubje<Sls ; an enlarged and liberal un- 
derftanding of our commercial intereft ; a humane attention 
to the circumftances of even the loweft ranks of the com- 
munity; and a truly wife> politic, and tolerant fpirlt, in 

T t a fupporting 



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324 SPEECH AT BRISTOti, Sec. 

•fupporting the national church, with a reafonable indul^r 
gence to all who diilent from it ; and we Wilh to feXpfrefs the 
moft marked abhorrence of the bafe arts- which have been 
employed, without regard to truth and region, to mifrepre- 
ient his emirierit fervices to his country, 

Refolved, That diis' refolution be copied o^t, and figned 
by the chairman,, and be: by him ipceferited to Mr, Burke, as 
the fiiUeft expreffidn of the rel^dtfiil atwl grateful ferife we 
entertain of his merits arid fervices^ public and private, to the 
citizens of BiiftdU as a m^lijsnd a reprefefltatiye* 

Refolved, That the ithaaks of t^is .meqtirig jbegiyeti to 
the right worftiipful the Mayor, who fo ably and worthily 
prefided in this meeting. 

Refolved, That it is the earneft requeft of this meeting to 
Mr. Burke, that he ftiould again offer himfelf a candidate to 
reprefent this city in parliament ; affuring him of that full 
and ftrenuous fupport which is due to the merits of fo ex- 
cellent a feprefentati ve. 

This bufinefs being over, Mr. Burke went to the Ex^ 
change, and offered himfelf as a candidate in the ufual man- 
ner. He was accompanied ^o the Gouncil-houfe, and 'from 
thence to the Exchange, by^ large body of moft refpeflable 
gentlemen, amongft whom were the following members of 
the corporation, viz. Mr. Mayor, Mr. Alderman Smith, Mr. 
Alderman Deane, Mr. Alderman Gordon, William Weare, 
Samuel Munckley, John Merlott, John Crofts, Levy»Ames, 
John Fiftier Weare, Benjamin Lofcombe, Philip Protheroe, 
Samuel Span, Jofeph Smith, Richard Bright, and Johii 
Noble, Efquires* 



MR. 



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MR. BURKE'S 

SPEECH, 

On the lil of DECEMBER) 1783, 

UPON 

THE QUESTION FOR THE SPEAKER'S 
LEAVING THE CHAIR, 

IN ORDER FOR THE HOUSE TO RESOLVE ITSELF 
INTO A COMMITTEE 

O N 

MR. FOX'S EAST-INDIA BILL. 



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( 327 ) 



SPEECH, &c. 



Mr. Speaker, 

I THANK you for pointing to me. I really wilhed much 
to engage your attention in an early ftage of the debate. 
I have been long very deeply, though perhaps ineffectually, 
engaged in the preliminary enquiries, which have continued 
without intermifiion for fome years. Though I have felt, 
with ibme degree of fenfibility) the natural and inevitable 
impreflions of the feveral matters of fa6t, as they have been 
fuccelfively difclofed, I have not at any time attempted to 
trouble you on the merits of the fubje<^ ; and very little on 
any of the points which incidentally arofe in the courfe of 
our proceedings. But 1 fhould be forry to be found totally 
filent upon this day. Our enquiries are now come to their 
final iffue :— It is now to be determined whether the three 
years of laboricms parliamentary refearch, whether the 
twenty years of patient Indian fuffering, are to produce a 
fubftantial reform in our eaftern adminiftration; or whether 
our knowledge of the grievances has abated our zeal for the 
corre<5tion of them, and our very enquiry into the evil was 
only a pretext to elude the remedy which is demanded from 
us by humanity, by juftice, and by every principle of true 
policy. Depend upon it, this bufinefs cannot be indifferent 
to our fame. It will turn out a matter of great difgrace 
or great glory to the whole Britifh nation. We are 
on a confpicuous ftage, and the world marks our de- 
meanour. 

I am 



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328 SPEECH 6n MR, FOX'ar 

I am therefore a little concerned to perceive the fpirit and 
temper in which the debate has been all along purfued, 
upon one fide of the houfe. The declamation of the gen-- 
tlemen who oppofe the biU has been abundant and vehe- 
ment ; but they have been referved and even filent about 
the fitneis or unfitnefs of the plan to attain the direct objed 
it has in view. By fome gentlemen it is taken up (by way 
of exercife I prefume) as a point of law on aqueftion of pri- 
vate property, and corporate franchife ; by others k is re-- 
garded as the petty intrigue of a faction at court, and argued 
merely as it tends to fet this man a little higher, or that a 
Kttle lower in fituation and power. All the void has been 
filled up with inve<Slives againft coalition ; with allufions to 
the lofs of America ; with the activity and inaftlvity of mi- 
nifters* The total filence of thefe gentlemen concerning 
the intereft and well-being of the people of lndia> and con- 
cerning the intereft which this nation has in the commerce 
and revenues of that country, is a ftrong indication of the 
value which they fet upon thefe objeds^. 

It has been a Kttle painful to me to obferve the intrufioa 
into this important debate of fuch company as quo warrantOy 
and mandamus y and certiorari^ as if we were on a. trid about 
mayors and aldermen, and capital burgelTes ;- or engaged m 
a fuit concerning the borough of Pfenryn, or Saka(h, or Stv 
Ives, or St. Mawes. Gentlemen have argued with as^mucb 
heat and paffion, as if the firft things inthe world were at 
itake ; and their topics are fuch, as belong only to. matter oi 
thelowell and meaneft litigation. It is not right, it is not 
wprthy of us, in this manner to depreciate the value,, to 
degrade the majefty of this grave deliberation of policy and 
empire; 

For my part, I have thought myfelf bound, when a mat- 
ter of this extraordinary weight came before me, not to 

I confider 



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E A S T - I N D I A B I L L. 329 

conlider (as fome gentlemen are fo fond of doing) whether 
the bill originated from a fecretary of ftate for the home de- 
partment, or from a fecretary for the foreign ; from a mi- 
nifter of influence or a minifter of the people ; from Jacob 
or from Efau*. I afked myfelf, and I afked myfelf nothing 
elfe, what part it was fit for a member of parliament, who 
has fupplied a mediocrity of talents by the extreme of dili- 
gence, and who has thought himfelf obliged, by the refearch 
of years, to wind himfelf into the inmoft receffes and laby- 
rinths of the Indian detail, what part, I fay, it became fuch 
a member of parliament to take, when a minifter of ftate, in 
conformity to a recommendation from the throne, has 
brought before us a fyftem for the better government of the 
territory and commerce of the Eaft. In this light, and in 
this only, I will trouble you with my fentiments. 

It is not only agreed but demanded, by the right honour- 
able gentleman +, and by thofe who a<Sl with him, that a 
whole fyftem ought to be produced ; that it ought not to be 
an half meafure ; that it ought to be no palliative^ but a le- 
giflative provifion, vigorous, fubftantial, and eflFe<Stive.— I 
believe that no man who underftands the fubjedt can doubt 
for a moment, that thofe muft be the conditions of any 
thing deferving the name of a reform in the Indian govern- 
ment; that any thing ftiort of them would not only be de- 
lufive, but, in this matter which admits no medium, noxious 
in the extreme. 

To all the conditions propofed by his adverfaries the 
mover of the bill perfectly agrees ; and on his performance 
of them he refts his caufe. On the other hand, not the 
leaft objection has been taken, with regard to the efficiency, 
the vigour, or the completenefs of the fcheme. I am there- 
fore warranted to alTume, as a thing admitted, that the bills 

♦ An allufion made by Mr. Powis. f Mr. Pitt. 

Vol. II. U u accomplifh 



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330 SPEECH ON MR- FOX'ff 

accomplish what both fides of the hoiife demand as effential. 
The end is completely anfvvered, fo far as the diredt and 
immediate obje<ft is concerned. 

But though there are no direct:, yet there are various col- 
lateral objections made ; objections from the e£Fe6ts, which 
this plan of reform for Indian adminiftration may have on 
the privileges of great public bodies in England ; from its 
probable influence on the conftitutional rights, or on the 
freedom and integrity of the feveral branches of the legifla- 
ture. 

Before I anfwer thefe objections I muft beg leave to ob- 
ferve, that if we are not able to contrive fome method of go- 
verning India wellj which will not of neceffity become the 
means of governing Great Britain ///, a ground is laid for 
their eternal reparation ; but none for facrificing the people 
of that country to our conftitution. 1 am however far from 
being perfuaded that any fuch incompatibility of intereft 
does at all exift. On the contrary I am certain that every 
means, effectual to preferve India from oppreffion, is a guard 
to preferve the Britiflti conftitution from its worft corruption. 
To flhew this, I will confider the objections, which I think 
are four* 

ift. That the bill is an attack on the chartered rights of 
men. . 

fldly. That it increafes the influence of the crown. 

3dly. That it does not increafe, but diminifhes, the influ- 
ence of the crown, in order to promote the interefts of 
certain minifters and their party. 

4thly. That it deeply afFeCts the national credit* 

As to the firft of thefe objections ; I muft obferve that 
the phrafe of « the chartered rights of men^ is full of af- 
fectation ; and very unufual in the difcuflion of privileges- 
conferred by charters of the prefent defcription* But it is 

not: 



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E A S T - I N D I A BILL. 331 

not difficult to difcover what end that ambiguous mode of 
expreffion, fo often reiterated, is meant to anfwer. 

The rights of men^ that is to fay, the natural rights of 
mankind, are indeed facred things ; and if any public mea- 
fure is proved mifchievoufly to aflfe6t them, the objeftion 
ought to be fatal to that meafure, even if no charter at all 
could be fet up againft it/ If thefe natural rights are fur- 
ther affirmed and declared by exprefs covenants, if they are 
clearly defined and fecured againft chicane, againft power^ 
and authority, by written inftruments and pofitive engage- 
ments, they are in a ftill better condition : they partake not 
only of the fandtity of the objedl fo fecured, but of that fo- 
lemn public faith itfelf, which fecures an objeft of fuch im- 
portance. Indeed this formal recognition, by the fovercign 
power, of an original right in the fubjedl, can never be fub- 
verted, but by rooting up the holding radical principles of 
government, and even of fociety itfelf. The charters, w hich 
we call by diftindtion greaty are public inftruments of this 
nature ; I n^ean the charters of king John and king Henry 
the third. The things fecured by thefe inftruments may, 
without any deceitful ambiguity, be very fitly called the 
chartered rights of men. 

Thefe charters have made the very name of a charter dear 
to the heart of every Englifhman — But, Sir, there may 
be, and there are charters, not only different in nature, but 
formed on principles the very reverfe of thofe of the great 
charter. Of this kind is the charter of the Eaft India com-^ 
pany. Magna cbarta is a charter to reftrain power, and to 
deftroy monopoly. The Eaft India charter is a charter to 
eftablifh monopoly, and to create power. Political power 
and commercial monopoly are not the rights of men ; and 
the fights to them derived from charters, it is fallacious and 
fophiftical to call ^^ the chartered rights of men." Thefe 

U u 2 chartered 



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33a SPEECH ON MR. FOX's 

chartered rights, (to fpeak of fuch charters and of their ef- 
fects in terms of the greateft poffible moderation) do at leaft 
lufpend the natural rights of mankind at large ; and in their 
very frame and conftitution are liable tx) fall into a direct 
violation of them. 

It is a charter of this latter defcription (that is to fay a 
charter of power and monopoly) which is affedted by the 
bill before you. The bill, Sir, does, without queftion, afiFed: 
it ; it does affect it effentially and fubftantially. But having 
ftated to you of what defcription the chartered rights are 
which this bill touches, I feel no difl5.culty at all in acknow- 
ledging the exiftence of thofe chartered rights, in their f ul- 
left extent. They belong to the company in the fureft man- 
ner ; and they are fecured to that body by every fort of pub- 
lic fandtion. They are ftamped by the faith of the king; 
they are ftamped by the faith of parliament ; they have been 
bought for money, for money honeftly and fairly paid; they 
have been bought for valuable confideration, over and over 
again. 

I therefore freely admit to the Eaft India company their 
claim to exclude their fellow-fubjedts from the commerce 
of half the globe. I admit their claim to adminifter an an- 
nual territorial revenue of feven millions fterling ; to com- 
mand an army of lixty thoufand men ; and to difpofe, (un- 
der the controul of a fovereign imperial difcretion, and with 
the due obfervance of the natural and local law) of the lives 
and fortunes of thirty millions of their fellow-creatures. 
All this they poflefs by charter and by adls of parliament, 
(in my opinion) without a ftiadow of controverfy. 

Thofe who carry the rights and claims of the company the 

furtheft do not contend for more than this; and all this I 

freely grant. But granting all this^ they muft grant to me 

in my turn, that all political power which is fet over men^ 

6 and 



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E A S T . I N D I A BILL. 333 

and that all privilege claimed or exercifed in exclufion of 
them, being wholly artificial, and for fo miich> a derogation 
from the natural equality of mankind at large, ought to be 
fome way or other exercifed ultimately for their benefit.' 

If this is true with regard to every fpecies of political do* 
minion, and every defcription of commercial privilege, none 
of which can be original felf-derived rights, or grants for the 
mere private benefit of the holders, then fuch rights, or pri- 
vileges, or whatever elfe you choofe to call thera^ are all in 
the ftriiSteft fenfe a fru/i; and it is of the very eflence of 
every truft to be rendered accountable \ and even totally to 
ceafcy when it fubftantially varies from the purpofes for 
which alone it could have a lawful exiftence. 

This I conceive. Sir, to be true of trufts of power veiled in 
the higheft hands, and of fuch as feem to hold of no human 
creature. But about the application of this principle to fub- 
ordinate derivative trufts, I do not fee how a controverfy caa 
be maintained. To whom then would I make the Eaft In-^ 
dia company accountable? Why, to parliament to be fure; 
to parliament, from whom their truft was derived; to parlia- 
ment, which alone is capable of comprehending the magni^ 
tude of its object, and its abufe ; and alone capable of an ef- 
fectual legiflative remedy. The very charter, which is held 
out to exclude parliament from corredling malverfation with 
regard to the high truft vefted in the company, is the very 
thing which at once gives a title and impofes a duty on us 
to interfere with efFe<St, wherever power and authority ori- 
ginating from ourfelves are perverted from their purpofes^ 
and become inftruments of wrong and violence* 

If parliament, Sir, had nothing to do with this charter,. 
we might have fome fort of Epicurean excufe to ftand aloof,, 
indifferent fpedtators of what pafles in the company's name 
in India and in London^ ^^t.^f we are the very caufe of 

the 



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334 SPEECH ON MR. FOX'S 

the evil, we are in a fj^ecial manner engaged to the redrefs ; 
and for us paflively to bear with oppreffions committed 
under the fanftion of our own authority, is in truth and 
reafon for this houfe to be an adtive accomplice in the 
abufe. 

That the jpower notorioufly, grofsly, abufed has been 
bought from us is very certain. But this circumftance, 
which is urged againft the bill, becomes an additional mo- 
tive for our interference; leaft we fliould be thought to 
have fold the blood of millions of men, for the bafe con- 
iideration of money. We fold, I admit, all that we had to 
fell; that is, our authority, not our controul. We had not a 
right to make a market of our duties. 

1 ground myfelf therefore on this principle — that if the 
abufe is proved, the contradt is broken ; and we re-enter into 
all our rights ; that is, into the exercife of all our duties. 
Our own authority is indeed as much a truft originally, as 
the company's authority is atruft derivatively; and it is the 
ufe we make of the refumed power that muft juftify or con- 
demn us in the refumption of it. When we have perfedled 
the plan laid before us by the right honourable mover, the 
world will then fee what it' is we deftroy, and what it is we 
create. By that tell we ftand or fall; and by that teft I truft 
that it will be found in the iffiie, that we are going to fuper- 
fede a charter abufed to the full extent of all the powers 
which it could abufe, and exercifed in the plenitude of de- 
fpotifm, tyranny, and corruption ; and that, in one and the 
fame plan, we provide a real chartered fecurity for the rights 
of men cruelly violated under that charter. 

This bill, and thofe conne6led with it, are intended to 
form the magna cbarta of Hindoftnn. Whatever the treaty 
of Weftphalia is to the liberty of the princes and free cities 
of the empire, and to the r^ree religions there profefled— 

Whatever 



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E A S T - I N D I A BILL. 335 

Whatever the great charter, the ftatute of tallage, the peti- 
tion of right, and the declaration of right, are to Great Bri- 
tain, thefe bills are to the people of India. Of this benefit, 
I am certain, their condition is capable ; and when I know 
that they are capable of more, my vote fhall moft affuredly 
be for our giving to the full extent of their capacity of re- 
ceiving ; and no charter of dominion fliall (land as a bar in 
my way to their charter of fafety and protedlion. 

The ftrong admiffion I have made of the company^s 
rights (I am confcious of it) binds me to do a great deaL I 
do not prefume to condemn thofe who argue a priori^ 
againft the propriety of leaving fuch extenlive political 
powers in the hands of a company of merchants, I know 
much is, and much more may be ftiid againft fuch a fyftem* 
But, with my particular ideas and fentiments, I cannot go 
that way to work. I feel an infuperable reluctance in 
giving my hand to deftroy any eftablifhed inftitution of 
government, upon a theory, however plaufible it may be. 
My experience in life teaches me nothing clear upon the 
fubjedt. I have known merchants with the fentiments and 
the abilities of great ftatefmen ; and I have feen perfbns in x 
the rank of ftatefmen, with the conceptions and chara6lerof 
pedlars. Indeed, my obfervation has furniftied me with 
nothing that is to be found in any habits of life or education^ 
which tends wholly to difqualify men for the functions of 
government, but that, by which the power of exercifing 
thofe functions is very frequently obtained, I mean, a fpirit 
ahd habits of low cabal and intrigue ; which I have never> 
in one inftance, feen united with a capacity for found and 
manly policy. 

To juftify us in taking the adminiftration of their affairs 

Out of the hands of the Eaft India company, on my princi-^ 

pies, I muft fee feveral conditions, ift. The obje(St ajffedled 

* by 



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336 SPEECH ON MR. FOX^s 

by the abufe Ihould be great and inaportant. 2d. The abufe 
aflfedling this great objedt ought to be a great abufe. 3d. It 
ought to be habitual, and not accidental. 4th. It ought to 
be utterly incurable in the body as it now ftands conftituted. 
All this ought to be made as vilible to me as the light of the 
fun, before I Ihould ftrike oflf an atom of their charter. A 
right honourable gentleman * has faid, and faid I think but 
once, and that very flightly (whatever his original demand for 
a plan might feem to require) that " there are abufes in the 
^^ company's government.'' If that were all, the fcheme of 
the mover of this bill, the fcheme of his learned friend, and 
his own fcheme of reformation (if he has any) are all 
equally needlefs. There are, and muft be, abufes in all 
governments. It amounts to no more than a nugatory pro- 
pofition. But before I confider of what nature thefe abufes 
are, of which the gentleman fpeaks fo very lightly, permit 
me to recall to your recolledtion the map of the country 
which this abufed chartered right afFe<Sls. This I Ihall do, 
that you may judge whether in that map I can difcover any 
thing like the firft of my conditions ; that is. Whether the 
object ajBfedled by the abufe of the Eaft India company's 
power be of importance fufEcient to juftify the meafure and 
means of reform applied to it in this bill. 

With very few, and thofe inconfiderable intervals, the 
Britith dominion, either in the company's name, or in the 
names of princes abfolutely dependent upon the company, 
extends from the mountains that feparate India from Tar- 
tary, to cape Comorin, that is, one-and-twenty degrees of 
latitude ! 

In the northern parts it is a folid mafs of land, about 
eight hundred miles in length, and four or five hundred 
broad. As you go fouthward, it becomes narrower for a 

♦Mr. Pitt. 

fpace* 



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EAST I:ND,IA BILL/ 337 

fpace* It afterwards dilates;; but narrower or broader,' you 
poifcfs the whole eaftern and north-eaftern coail of that vaft 
country, quite from the b6rders of Pegu. — Bengal, Bahar, and 
Orifla, with Benares (now unfortunately in our immediate 
pofleffion) meafiire 161,978 fquare Englilh miles ; a territory 
coniiderably larger thatithe whole kingdom of France. Oude, 
with its. dependent provinces, is 53^286 fquare miles, not a 
great deilJefs than»Engl{ind. The Garnatic, with Tanjour 
and the Gircars, is 65,94^ fqtiare miles, very confiderably 
larger than England ; and the whole of the company's do- 
minions, comprehending Bombay and Salfette, amounts to, 
281,412 fquare miles ; which forms a territory larger than 
any European dominion, Ruflia and Turkey excepted^ 
Through all that vaft extent of country there is not a man 
who eats a mouthful of rice but by permiflion of the Eaft 
India company. 

So far with regard to the extent. The population of this 
great empire is not eafy to be calculated. When the coun* 
tries, of which it is compofed, came into our pofleffion, they 
were all eminently peopled, and eminently productive ; 
though at that time coniiderably declined from their antient 
profperity. But lince they are come into our hands ! ~ ■ I 
However if we take the period of our eftimate immediately 
before the utter defolation of the Garnatic, and if we allow 
for the havoc which our government had even then made 
in thefe regions, we cannot, in my opinion, rate the ix)pu- 
lation at much lefs than thirty millions of fouls ; more than 
four times tKe number of perfons in the iiland of Great 
Britain. ; v 

My next enquiry -to that of the number, is the quality and 
defcription of the inhabitants. This multitude of men does 
not confifl: of an abject and barbarous populace ; much lefs -^ 
of gangs of ,favages5 like the puaranies and phiquitos, wha - 

VojL. II. X X wander 



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33» SPEECH ON MR. FOX'S 

wander on the wafte borders of the river of Araatons, or 
the Plate ; but a people for ages civilized and coltivated ; 
cnltivated by all the arts of polilhed life, whilft we were yet 
in the woods. There, have been (and ftill the ikeletons 
remain) princes once of great dignity, authority, and opu- 
lence. Thefb, are to be found the chiefs of tribes and na* 
tions. There, is to be found an antient and venerable prifeft- 
hood, the depofitory of their laws, learning, and hiftory, the 
guides of the people whilft living, and their coniblation in 
death ; a nobiftty of great antiquity and renown ; a multi- 
tude of cities, not exceeded in population and trade by thofe 
of the firft clafs in Europe ; merchants and bankers, indivi- 
dual houfes of whom have once vied in capital with the 
bank of England ; whofe credit had often fupported a totter- 
ing ftate, and preferved their governments in the midft of 
war and defolation; millions of ingenious manufad:urers 
and mechanicks; millions- of the mod diligent, and not the 
leaft intelligent, tillers of the earth. Here are to be found 
almoft all the religions profefled by men, the Bramincal, the 
Muflulmen, the Eaftern and the Weftern Chriiiians. 

If I were to take the whole aggregate of our pofleffions 
there, I iBiould compare it, as the neareft parallel I can find, 
with the empire of Germany. Our immediate pofleiiions I 
ihould compare with the Auftriau dominions, and they 
would not fufifer in the comparifon. The nabob of Oude 
might ftand for the king of Pruffia ; the nabob of Arcot 
I would compare, as foperior in territory, and equal in re- 
venue, to the ele<Stor of Saxony. • Cheyt Sing, the rajah of 
Benares, might well rank with the prince of HeUe, at leaft ^ 
a^d the rajah of Tanjore (though hardly equal in extent of 
dominion, fuperior in revenue) to the ele^or of Bavaria. 
The Polygars and the northern Zemindars, and other great 
<^iefs9 might wtU clafs with the reft of the princes, dukes^ 
3 counts. 



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BAST I N I> I A bill: 339 

counts^ xnarquifles, and biihops io the empire; all of whom 
I mention to honour, and furely without difparageinent ta 
any or all of thofe moft refpeftable pririces and grandees. 

All this vail: mafs, comi>ofed of fo many orders and claiTes 
of men, \s again infinitely diverfified by manners, by reli- 
gion, hy hereditary employment, through all their poffible 
coi^binations. This renders the handling of India a matter 
in an high degree critical and delicate. But oh ! it has beea 
handled rudely indeed. Even fome of the reformers feem 
to have forgot that they had any thing to do but to regulate 
the tenants of a manor, or th^ (hopkeepers of the next 
county town.- 

It is an empire of this extent, of this complicated, nature, 
of this dignity and importance, that I have compared to Ger-» 
many,, and the perman government; not for an exacSt rc- 
iemblance, but as 9, fort; of* a middle term* by which India 
might be approximated to pur underfliandings, and if pof- 
fible to our feelings ; inpifdierito awaken fomething of fym« 
pathy for the unfortunate natives, of which I am afraid we 
are not perf€<aiy fufceptible, whilft we look at this v«ry re-» 
mote obje<^ through 9, falTe aoid cloudy medium. 

My fecond conditiorjy neceffary to juftify me in touching 
the charter, is. Whether the compapy'? abufe.of their truft, 
with regard to this great obJ€(51:, be an abufe of great -atro- 
city. I fliall beg your permiflion to conlider their conduft 
in two lights ; firft the political, and then the commercial. 
Their political coiKlu<St (f^r diftiqdtiiefs) I divide again into 
two heads ; the externq^l, in which I mean to comprehend 
their condudt in their federal capacity, as it relies to powers 
andftates independent, or tjiat not long fince were fuch ; the 
other internal, nanjely their condu<3E to the countries cither 
immediately fulg!e<5^.tothe<;onopany, or to thofe who, unde? 

. Xx2 the 



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340 SPEECHON MR. FOX^s 

the apparent government of native fovereigns, are in a 
Hate much lower, and much more miferable, than common 
fubjedtion. 

The attention, Sir, which I wifh to preferve to method will 
not be confidered as unneceffaryor affe6ted. Nothing elfe 
can help me to feledlion out of the infinite nfiaft' of materials 
which have pafled under my eye ; or can keep my mind 
Heady to the great leading points I have in view. 

With regard therefore to the abufe of the external federal 
truft, I engage myfelf to you to make good thefe three pofi- 
tions:— Firft, I fay, that from ntiount Imaus, (or whatever 
elfe you call that large range of mountains that walls the 
northern frontier of India) where it touches us in the lati- 
tude of twenty-nine, to cape Comorin, in the latitude of 
eight, that there is not a Jingle prince, ftate, or potentate, 
great or fmall, in India, with whom they h^ve come into 
contaft, whom they have not fold. I fayy&A/, though fbmef- 
times they have not been able to deliver according to their 
bargain. — Secondly, I fay, that there is not a ftngle treaty 
they have ever made, which they have not broken. — 
Thirdly, I fay, that there is not a fingle prince or ftate, who 
ever put any truft in the company, who is not utterly 
ruined ; and that none are in any degree fecurd or flourifh- 
ing, but in the exadt proportion to their fettled diftruft and 
irreconcileable enmity to this nation. 

Thefe aflertions are univerfal. I fay in thfe full fenfe 
univerfaL They regard the external aihd political truft 
only; but I fhall produce others fully eq\iivalenti'*iTi the 
internal. For the prefent, I ftiaH content myfelf witli ex- 
plaining my meaning; and if I am called on for proof 
whilft thefe biUs are depending (which I believe I (hail-not) 
I will put my finger on the appendixes to- the reports, or or 

I papers 



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EAST INDIA BILL. 341 

papers of record in the houfe, or the committees, which I 
Iiave diftindtly prefent to my memory, and which I think I 
can lay before you at half an hour's warning. 

The firft potentate fold by the company for money was 
the Great Mogul— the defcendant of Tamerlane. This high 
perfonage, as high as human veneration can look at, is by 
every account amiable in his manners, refpedtable for his 
piety according to his mode, and accomplifhed in all the 
Oriental literature* All this, and the title derived under his 
charter^, to all that we hold in India, could not fave him 
from the general j^/<?. Money is coined in his name ; In his 
name juftice is adminiftered ; He is prayed for in every 
temple through the countries we poffefs — But he was 
fokU 

It is impoflible, Mr. Speaker, not to paufe here for a mo- 
ment, to reflecSl on the inconflancy of human greatnefs, and 
the ftupendous revolutions that have happened in our age 
of wonders. Could it be believed, when I entered into ex- 
iftence, or when you, a younger man, were born, that on 
this day, in this houfe, we fhould be employed in difcufling 
the conduct of thofe Britilh fubje6ls who had.difpofed of the 
power and perfon of the Grand Mogul ? This is no idle 
ipeculation. Awful leffbns are taught by it, and by other 
Events, of which it is not yet too late to profit. 

This is hardly a digreflion ; but I return to the fale of the 
Mogul. Two diftri(5tsy Corah and Allahabad, .out of his 
immenfe grants, were referved as a royal demefne to the 
donor of a kingdom, and the rightful fovereign of^fo many 
nations. — After withholding the tribute of jT. 260,000 a year, 
whidh the company was, by the charter they had received 
from this prince, under the moft folemn obligation to pay, 
thefe diftri^s were fold to his chief minifter Sujah ul Dow- 
lah ; and, -what naay appear to fome the worft part of the 
... :• tranfa6lion» 



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34* SPEECH ON MR. FOX'S 

tranfadtion, thefe two diftriA& were foM for fcarcelf two 
years purchafe. The defcendant of Tamerlane now ftands 
in need almoft of the common neceiTaries of life ^ and in this 
fituation we do not even allow him, as bounty, the fmaUieft 
portion of what we owe him in juftice. 

The next fale was that of the whole nation of the Ro- 
hillas, which the grand falefman, without a pretence of 
quarrel, and contrary to his own declared fenfe of duty and 
re<aitude, fcJd to the fame Sujah ul Dowlah. He foW the 
people to utter txtirpatioHy fox the fura of four hundred 
thoufand pounds. Faithfully was the bargain performed 
on our fide. Hafiz Rhamet, the moil eminent of their 
chiefs, one of the braveft men of his time, and as famous 
throughoiit the Eaft for the elegance of his literature, and 
the fpirit of his poetical compoiitions (by which he fup- 
ported the name of Hafiz) as for his Courage, was invaded 
with an army of an hundred thoufand men, and an Englifli 
brigade. This man, at the head of inferior forces, was flain 
valiantly fighting for his country. His head was cut off, 
and delivered for money to a barbarian. His wife and 
children, perfons of that rank, were feen begging an hand- 
ful of rice through the £ngli(b camp. The wliole nation, 
with inconfiderable exceptions, was flaughtered or banilhedk 
The country was laid wafte with fire and fword ; and that 
land diftinguifhed above moft others, by the chearful £ace 
of paternal government and protected labour, the chofen 
feat of cultivation and plenty, is. now almoft throughout a 
dreary defert, covered with rulhes and briars, and jungles 
full of wild beafts. 

The Britifh officer who commanded in the delivery of the 
people thus fold, felt fome compundtion at his employnoiem. 
He reprefented theie enormous exceiTes to the prefident of 
Bengal, for which he received a fevere reprimsfcid from the 

civil 



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EAST INDIA BILL. 343 

civil governor; and I much doubt whether the breach 
caufed by the coQill<^) between the compaffion of the mili- 
tary and the firmnefs of the civil governor, be clofed at this, 
hour. 

In Bengal, Seraja Dowla was fold to Mir Jaffier; Mir 
Jaffier was fold to Mir Coffim ; and Mir Coffim was fold to 
Mir Jaffier again. The fucceffion to Mir Jaffier was fold to 
his eldeft fon;— another fon of Mir Jaffier, Mobarech ul 
Dowla, was fold to his ftep-mother — The Maratta empire 
was fold to Ragoba; and Ragoba was fold and delivered to 
the Peiffiwa of the Marattas. Both Ragoba and the Peiihwa 
of the Marattas were oiFered to fale to the rajah of Berar.. 
Scindia, the chief of Malva, was offered to fale to the fame 
rajah; and the Subah of the Decan was fold to the great 
trader Mahomet Ali, nabob of Arcot. To the fame nabob 
of Arcot they fold Hyder Ali and the kingdom, of Myfore. 
To MahcMTiet Ali they twice fold the kingdom of Tanjore.. 
To the fame Mahomet Ali they fold at leaft twelve fovereigo* 
princes, called the Polygars. But to keep things even, the- 
territory of Tinnivelly, belonging to their nabob, they 
would have fold to the Dutch; and to conclude the account of 
fales, their great cuftomer, the nabob of Arcot himfelf, and 
his lawful fucceffion, has been fold to his iecond fon, Amir 
ul Omrah, whofe charafler, views, and condu<St, are ia the 
accounts upon your table. It remains with you whether 
they fliall finally ptrft&. this laft bargain. 

AH thefe bargains and fales were regularly attended with 
the wafte and havoc of the country, always by the buyer,, 
and fometimes by the obje<5t of the fale* This was ck- 
jdained to you by the honourable mover, when he ftated 
the mode of paying debts due from the country powers to. 
the company. An honourable gentleman, who is not now 
in his place, obfe^ed to his jumping near two thoufand 

miles. 



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344 SPEECH ON MR. FOX^s 

miles for an example. Bat the fouthern example is per- 
fedlly applicable to the northern claim, as theiiorthern is 
to the fouthern ; for, throughout the whole fpace of thefe 
two thoufand miles, take your Hand where you will, the 
proceeding is perfe<Stly vmiform, and what is done in one 
part will apply exactly to the other. 

My fecond affertibn is, that the company, never has made 
a treaty which they have not broken. Thispofition is fo 
conned:ed with that of the fales of provinces and kingdoms, 
with the negotiation of univerfal diftradlion in every part of 
India, that a very minute detail may well be fpared on this 
point. It has not yet been contended, by any^nemy to the 
reform, that they have obferved any public agreement. 
When I hear that they have done fo in any one inftance 
(which hitherto, I tonfefe,irnever heard alledged) I Ihall 
fpeak to the particular treaty. The governor general has 
even amufed himfelf and the court of directors in a very 
lingular letter to that board, in which he admits he has not 
been very delicate with regard to public faith ; and he goes 
fo far as to ftate a regular eftimate of the fums which the 
company would have loft, or never acqxiired, if the rigid 
ideas of public faith entertained by his colleagues had been 
obferved. ^'The learned gentleman over againft me has 
indeed faved me much trouble. On a former occaiion he 
obtained no fmall credit, for the clear and forcible manner . 
in which he ftated what we have not forgot, and I hope he 
has not forgot, that univerfal fyftcmatic breach of treaties 
which had made the Britilh faith proverbial in the Eaft. 

It only remains, Sir, for me juft to recapitulate fome 

heads. — ^The treaty with the Mogul, by which >ve ftipxi- 

lated to pay him £. 260,000 annually, was broken. This 

treaty they have broken, and not paid him a ihiUing. They 

* Mn Dtindas, iQrd advocate of Scotland. . 

broke 



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EAST INDIA BILL. 345 

broke their treaty with him, in which they ftipulated to pay 
jf. 400,000. a. year, to the foubah of Bengal. They agreed 
with the,;mogiil, for fervices .acln;iitted to have been per- 
formed, to pay. Nudjif C^wa.g. -pejafion. They broke this 
article with. the reft, and flopped ai|b -this fmajl penfion. 
They broke^ their treaties with the. Nizana^ and witli Hyder 
A)i. As, to the I^arottas^ , they 'h^io many^crofs treaties 
with the ftates general of. that nation^ and with each of the 
chiefs, that it w^s notorious, th^t no one of thefe agree- 
ments C0UI4 be kept, without grofsly violating the reft. It 
was 9bferved, t^^t if theterms o£ thefe feyeral treaties had 
he^ kept, two IS^itifli armies ,wou^d at one and the fame 
time ^ave met in the field to cut each other's throats. 
The wars, which defolate India, originated from a moft atro- 
cious violation of public faith on our part. In the midft of 
profound peace, the company's troops invaded the Maratta 
territories, and furprifed the ifland and fortrefs of Salfette, 
The Marattas neverthelefs yielded to a treaty oi peace, by 
whfch fojid advantages were procured to the company. But 
this treaty, like every other treaty, was foon violated by the 
conjpany. Again the company invaded the Maratta domi- 
nions. Th^ difafter that enfued gave occafion to a new 
treatjy. The whole ,army of the company was obliged, in 
eflfed:, to , furrender to. this, injured, betrayed, and infulted 
people. Juftiy irritated however, as they were, the terms 
which they prefcrjbed were reafonable and moderate ; and 
their, treatment of their <captive invaders, of the moft diftin- 
gujflie,4 humanity. But .the hi^manity of the Marattas was 
of no power whatfoever to prevail on the company to attend 
to the obfervaxxce of theterms -dictated by their moderation. 
The war was renewed witl^^reateF vigour tha;n ever; and 
fuch was thpir.iniatiablejuft, of j'jJ-under, that th^y pever 
would, hay e ^,iven;e^,.to.apiy tqrni& of peace, if Hyder Ali. 
had not^broke through the GautsJ and'rulliirig like a torrent 
Vol. n. y y into 



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546 SPEECH ON MR. FOX'S 

into the Camatic, fwept away every thing in his career. Th& 
was in confequence of that confederacy, which by a fort of 
miracle united the moft difcordant powers for otif deftruc- 
tion, as a nation in wlktch no other could put any tru^ and 
who were the declared enemies of the human fpedes. 

It is very remarkaWe, that the late controverly between 
the feveral prefidencies, and between them and. the court of 
direcftors, with relation to thefe wars and treaties, ha» not 
been, which of the parties might be defended for his ftiare 
in them ; but on which of the parties the guilt of aU this 
load of perfidy fhould be fixed. But I am content to admit 
^11 thefe proceedings to be perfectly regular, to be full of 
honour and good faith ; and wifti to fix your attention fole-^ 
ly to that fingle tran&(^ion which the advocates of this 
fyftem fele<5t for fo tranfcendant a merit as to cancel the 
guilt of all the reft of their proceedings ;. I mean the late 
treaties with the Marattas. 

I make no obfervation on the total cefiion of territory, by 
which they furrendered all they had obtained, by their un- 
happy fuccefles in war, and almofi: all they had obtained 
under the treaty of Poorunder^ The reftitution was proper, 
if it had been voluntary and feafonable. I attach on the 
fpirit of the treaty, the difpofitions it fhewed, the provifions 
it made for a general peace, and the ifaith kept with allies 
and confederates; in order that the houfe may form a 
judgment, from this chofen piece, of theufe which has been 
made (and is likely to be made,, if things continue in the 
fame hands) 'of the truft of the fedferal powers of this 
country. 

It was the wifh of almoft every Englilhman, that the 
Maratta peace might lead to a general one ; becaufe the Ma* 
ratta war was only a part of a general confederacy formed 
againil us on account of the univerfal abhonretice of our 

condU(5t 



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E A S T I N P I A BILL. 34^ 

condufb ^hich prevailed in every ftate and alnaoft in every 
hoiiie in India. Mr. Haftings was obliged to pretend fome 
fort of acquiefcence io this general and. rational deiire. He 
therefore cxmfeated, in order. to. fatiftfy the point of j^ionour 
of the Marattaa* that an artide ihould be inferted to admit 
Hyder Ali to accede to the pacification. But obfervci Sii^ 
the fpirit of this man (which if it were not made manifeft 
hj a thoufand thingS) and particularly by his proceedings 
with regard to lord Macartney) would be fuffi.clently mani- 
feft by this — ^What fort of artide think you does he require 
this effential head of a folemn treaty of general pacification 
to be? In his inftru^tion to Mr. Andesibny he deiires him 
to admit " a vague artide" in favour of Hyder. Evafion 
and fraud were the declared bails of the treaty. Thefe 
^jagtie slides, intended for a more vague performance, are 
tbe things which have damned our reputation in India* 

Hardly was this vague artide inferted, than, without 
waiting for any z£t on the part of Hyder, Mr. Hftftiags 
enters into a negodation with the Maratta chief, Sdndia, 
for a partition of the territories of the prince who was one 
t)f the objects to be feaired by the treaty. He was to be 
parcdled out ia three parts — one to Scindia; one to the 
peiihwa of thie Marattas ; and the third to the Eaft India 
company, or to (the old dealer and chapman) Mahomet Ali. 

During the formation of this project Hyder dies ; and 
before his fim could take any one ftep, either to conform to 
the tenom* of the artide, or to contravene k, the treaty of 
partition is renewed on the old focning, and an inflru^on is 
Cent to Mr. Anderfon to condude it in form. 

A circumftance intervened, during the pendency of tliis 
negodation, to fet off the good faith of the company 
•with an additional brilliancy, and to make it fpsirkle and 
glow with a variety of fplendid faces. General Matthews 

Y y 2 had 



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i48 SPEECH ON MR. FOX'S 

had reduced that moft valuable pait of Hyder's'domiriions 
called the Country of Biddenore. When the newsreached Mr. 
Haftings he inftrufted Mr. Anderfon to contend for an al- 
teration in the treaty of partition, and tot^e the Biddenore 
country out of the common itock which was to be divided, 
and to keep it for the cotnpany. . «. 

The firft ground for this variation was its being a feparate 
conqueft made before the- treaty had adiuilly taken place. 
Here was a new proof given of the fairnefs, equity, and 
Moderation of the company. But the fecond of Mr. 
Haftings's reafons for retaining the Biddenore as a feparate 
portion, and his condu(Sfc on that fecond ground, is ftiU 
more remarkable. He afferted that that country could not 
be put into the partition ftock, becaufe general Matthews 
had: received it on the terms of fome convention, which 
might be incompatible with! the piartitioh propofed. This 
was a'reafon'in itfelf bortii honourable and folid; and it 
•fheWed- a regard to faith fomewhere, and with fome per- 
fonfei. "But in order to demonftrate his utter contempt of the 
■plighted faith which was alledged on one part as areafbn 
for' departing fpom it on ^ another, and. to prow^his impei- 
tuous* defire - foic ' fowing ' a- new war, evfen' mi the prepared 
-foil of a general pacificatidn, he direcSts Mr. Ahderfon, if he 
Ai6uld find ft'rong difficulties impediiig the partitipn, on the 
■fcore of the fubtradtion of Biddenoire, wholly to abandon 
that claim, and to conclude the treaty on the original terms. 
General MatthewsV convention; was^ juft- brdhght forward 
fufficiently to ^lemonftrate to the Marattas the flippery hold 
which they had on their neikr confederate ; on the other hand 
that convention being inftantly abandoned, the people of 
India were taught, that no terms on which they can fur- 
render to the company are to be regardedj wfhen faifther 
conquefts are in view. • . - ' 

Next, 



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EA&T INDIA; BILL; 349 

Next) Sir, kt rhe bfiryg before: you the pious care that 
was takert of our allies under that treaty. which i6 the fub- 
je6l of the company's applaufes. Thefe alliies were Ragonaut 
Row, for whom we had engaged to find a throne ; the 
Guickwar, (one of the Guzerat princes) wht).was to be 
emancipated fro to the Maratta authority, and to grow great 
by feveral acceffions of dominion ; and laftly, the rana of 
Gohud, with whom we had entered into a treaty of par- 
tition for eleven lixteenths of our joint conquefts. Some 
of thefe ineftimable fecuyities, called vague articles, were 
inferted in favour of them alL i * 

'As to the fitft, the tulhappy abdicated pefhwa, and preten- 
iJer- X6 the Maratta throne^ Ragonaut Row, was delivered 
Up to his people, with an article for faiety, and fome pro- 
vifion. This man, knowirig'haw little vague the hatred of 
his couhtrymen was towards him^ and well apprifed of what 
black crimes he flood accufed (among which our invafion 
of hi^'tountry would not appear the leaft) took a mortal 
alarm at the fecurity we had provided for him. He was 
thiind^ftruck at the article* in his favour, by which he was 
Turrdhlferfed to his enemies. He Btever had the leaft notice 
of|the' treaty; and it Was apprehended that he would fly tp 
the'|iK)te^(itit)n^f H^der Ali, or fome other, difpofed or able 
to Jitot'edt hitti. He -was therefore not left without comfort; 
for Mr. Aiiderfon did him the favour to fend a fpecial ixief- 
fengerj defiring him to be of good cheer and to fear nor- 
thing. And his 6ld enemy, Scindia, at our requeft, fent 
liim a nieffage equally well calculated • to quiet his aj^prci- 
he'nfiotis. ^ * 

By 'the fame treaty the Guickwar was to come again, with, 
no bet^ei* fecurity, under the dominion of the Maratta ftate.. 
As to the rana of Gohud, a long negociation depended for 
giving him Tipi ' At firft this was refufed by Mr. Haftings 

X with 



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350 SPEECH ON MR, FOX'» 

with great indignation ; at another ftage it was admitted as 
proper, becaufe he had ihewn himfelf a moft perfidious 
perfon. But at length a method of reconciling thefe ex- 
tremes was found out, by contriving one of the ufual artides 
in his favour. What I beUevc will appear beyond ail be- 
lief, Mr. Anderfon exchanged the final ratifications of that 
treaty by which the ranah was nominally fecured in hij 
poffeflions, in the camp of the Maratta chief, Sdndia, whilft 
he was (really, and not nominally) battering the caiUe of 
Gualior, which we had given, agreeably to treaty, to thi^ 
deluded ally. Scindia had already reduced the town ; and 
was at the very time, by various detachments, reducing, one 
after another, the fortrefTes of our prote^ed ally, as well as 
in the a6t of chaftifing all the rajahs who had affifted colo> 
nel Camac in his invafion. I have feen in a letter from 
Calcutta, that the rana of Gohud's agent would have repre- 
fented thefe hoftilities (which went h»id in hand with the 
prote6ting treaty) to Mr. Haftings ; but he was not admitted 
to his prefence. 

In this manner the company has adted with their allies m 
the Maratta war. But they did not reft here : the Marattas 
were fearful left the perfons delivered to them by that 
treaty fhould attempt to efcape into the Britifh territoiies^ 
and thus might elude the puniftiment intended for them, 
and by reclaiming the treaty, might ftir up new dif- 
turbances. To prevent this, they deiired an article to be 
inferted in the fupplemental treaty, to which they had the 
ready confent of Mr. Haftings, and the reft of the com- 
pany*s reprefentatives in Bengal. It was this, ** That the 
^* Englilh and Maratta governments mutually agree not to 
" afford refuge to any chief Sy merchants, or other perfonSy 
** flying for prote£kion to the territories of the other." This 
was readily aflented to, and aflented to without any excep- 
9 tion 



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EAST INDIA BILL* 351 

tion whatever), in faivoiir of our furrendered allies. On 
Ihsir part a recipfocity "Was ftipulated which was not un- 
satural for a government like the company'^ to afk; a 
government) conj&ious chat many fubjecSts had been, and 
woiald in iuture, be driven to fly from its jurifdidlion. 

To €<Mnpkte the fyftem of pacific intention and public 
futh, whkh predominate in thefe treatiesy Mr. Haftings 
lucly re&)lved to put alt peace, except on the terms of abfo' 
luce conquefty wholly out of hk own power. For, by an 
article in this fecood treatjr with Scindia, he bindsthe com-^ 
pany not to* make any peace with Tippoo Saheb,. without 
the confetur of the' peiihwa> of the Marattas ; and binds- 
Scindia to him by a reciprocal engagement. The treaty be- 
tween France and Etarglaqd obfiges us mutually to withdraw 
our forces,, if our allies in India do not accede to the peace^ 
within four months; Mr. Hailings'a treaty obliges us to 
eontinue the wa,i? as lon;g. as the peiihwa^ thinks fit. We are 
now in that happy fituation, that the breach of the treaty 
with France, or the violation; of that with the Marattas, is^ 
inevitablie; and we have only to take our choice^ 

My third adertion, relative to the abnfe made of the right 
of war' and peace isy. that there are none who have ever 
confided in us who have not been utterly ruined.. The 
examples I have given of Ragonaut Row, of Guickwar, of 
the ranah of Gohud,. are recent.. There is proof more than^ 
enough in the condition of the mogut'r in tlie^ flavery and 
indigence of the nabohof Oude; tiae exile of the rajah of 
B^)ares;:the beggary of the nabob of Bengal ; the undone* 
and captive tondition of the rajah and kingdom of Tanjourf 
thedeflicuftionof the polygars ; and laflly, in< the deftruc* 
tion' of the nabob of Arcot himfelf, who when his domi- 
nions were invaded was found entirely deftitute of troopsj. 
piotrifioni, ftoFe$> and (as he a^tts) of money, being a 

million^ 



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352 SPEECH OK MR. TOX'» 

million ih debt to the coinpQ4iy,?and:fatir mUJionsto others : 
the many millioiiB which. he: had extorted from/ ib many 
extirpated princes and theirs dofalated. countries having j(»as 
he has frequently hinted), been expended for Jthei^round- 
rent of his manfioh-ihoufe irLan alleyJnj the fuhurba'Of 
Madras, Compare ^ the: conditaon: /bf- '^1 t»thc;feiopririces 
with the .power and: aiithbrity of aH-the I^ailatta /flutes ; 
with the independence ^attd digoitjifiof tihe: fo»bab-of,thie 
Decah; and .the mighty ftrehgth, the refourcesjr and the 
manly ftruggle of Hyder Ali ; and tken th^ houfe, will 
difcover Jthe. eflfc<asj oil reyery power .iji dlodia, ofian eafy 
confidence, or of a n»ted .diftriiji rin;:theofaith of the 
company. : . : . .^i .: i. ; , rr.:/ v : . •: 

• Thefe are fome of my re^fbns^i gcoundedr on the abufe of 
the external political truft.of ithat body, for thinking myfelf 
not only juftified but bound toi declare againft thofe chartered 
rights which produce fo .many wrogigs^. I fliould deem'my- 
felf the wickedeft of men, if any cvotc .of mine could cpntrir 
bute to the continuance of fo great an evil; ^ , , > . 

Now, Sir, according to the plan I propofed, I. ihall take 
notice of the company's internal government, as it; i8 exer- 
cifed iirft on thedependent provinces,, and then as itiaffe(9(S 
thofe under the diredl and immediate Authority of that: body • 
And here. Sir, beforfel enter into the fpirit of their interior 
government, permit me to obfearve to you, upon.a few of the 
many lines of difference which are to be found between the 
vices of the company's governments and thdfe of the co»- 
querors who preceded us in India; that.we itiay bQcg^abied 
a Httle the better to fee our way in an attertipt to thfi^JDec^fr 
fary reformation, . f; "m a ...../. 

The feveral irruptions of Arabs, Tartars, and ,Per(ians, 
into India were^ for the greater part, ierQciouS), blfi94y> 
and wafteful in the extreme ; jour eatranqe^jjto.thefll^e^i- 

nion 



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E A S T I N D I A BILL. 353 

hion of that country, was, as generally, with fmall compa- 
rative eflriifion of blood ; being introduced by various frauds 
and delufions, and by taking advantage of the incurable, 
blind, and fenfelefs animofity, which the feveral country 
powers bear towards each other, rather than by open force. 
But the difference in favour of the firft conquerors is this ; 
the Afiatic conquerors very foon abated of their ferocity-^ be- 
caufe they made the conquered country their own. They rofe 
or fell with the rife or fall of the territory they lived in. Fa- 
thers there depofited the hopes of their pofterity ; and chil- 
dren there beheld the monuments of their fathers. Here their 
lot was finally caft ; and it is the natural wifti of all, that their 
lot fhould not be caft in a bad land. Poverty, fterihty, and de- 
folation, are not a recreating profpedt to the eye of man ; and 
there are very few who can bear to grow old among the curfes 
of a whole people. If their paffion or their avarice droye the 
Tartar lords to a6ts of rapacity or tyranny,. there was tinie 
fenough, even in the fhort life of man, to bring round the 
ill effects of an abufe of power upon the power itfelf. If 
hoards were made by violence and tyranny, they were ftill 
domeftic hoards ; and domeftic profufion, or the rapine of a 
more powerful and prodigal hand, reftored them to the 
pcbple. With many diforders, and with few political 
checks upon power, nature had ftill fair play ; the fources 
of acquisition were not dried up ; and therefore the trade, 
the manufadlures, and the commerce of the country flou- 
rifhed. Even avarice and ufury itfelf operated, both for the 
prefervation and the employment of national wealth. The 
huft^andman and manufadurer paid heavy intereft, biit 
then they augmented the fund from whence they were 
again to borrow. Their refources were dearly bought, but 
they were fure ; and the general ftock of the community 
grew by the general effort. 
Vol. IL . Z z ^ But 



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354 SPEECH ON MR. FOX'9 

But under the Englifh government all this order is re- 
verfed. The Tartar invafion was mifchievous j but it i» 
our protedtion that deftroys India. Jt was their enmity, hut 
it is our friendlhip. Our conqueft there, after twenty 
years, is as crude as it was the firft day. The natives 
Icarcely know what it i? to fee the gr^y head of an Engliih- 
map, • Young ixiep (boys almoft) govern there, without 
fpciety, and without fymp^thy with the natives. They 
have no more focial habits with the people, than if they ftill 
refided in England ; nor indeed any fpecies of intercourle 
but that which is neceffary to making a fudden fortune, 
with a view to a remote fcttlement. Animated with-aU the 
avarice of age, and all the impetuofity of youth, they roll 
in one after another; wave after wave; and there is nothing 
before the eyes of the natives but an endlefs, hdpelefs pro-r 
fpe&. of new flights of birds of prey and pafTage, with apper 
tites continually renewing for a food that is continually 
wafting. Every rupee of profit made by an Engliftiman is 
ioft for ever to India. With us are no retributory fuper-? 
ilitions, by which a foundation of charity compenfates, 
through ages, to the poor* for the rapine and injuftice of 
a day. With us no prjkk eref^s ftately monuments which 
repair the mifchiefs which pride had produced, and which 
adorn a country out of its own Ipoils. England has ere(^e4 
no churches, no hofpitals*, no palaces, no fchools; Eng? 
land has built no bridges, made no high roads, cut no na-f 
vigations, dug out no refervoirs. Every other conqueror 
of every other defcription has left ibme monument, either 
of ftate or beneficence, behind him. Were we to be driveni 
out of India this day, nothing would remain, to tell that it 
had been pofiefied, during the inglorious period of our dor 
minion, by any thing better than the ouran-outang or the 
tiger. 

* The paltry foundation at Calcutta fs finely worth naming as an ejcceptioq. 

There 



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E A S T . I N D I A BILL* 3^5 

There is nothing in the bays we fend to Iftdia Wbffe than 
the boys whom we are whipping at fchool, or that we fee 
trailing a pike, or bending aver a defk at home. But as 
Englifti youth in India drink the intoxicating draught of 
authority and dominion before their heads are able to bear 
it, and as they are full grown in fortune long before they are 
ripe in principle, neither nature nor reafon have any op- 
portimity to exert themfelves for remedy of the fexceffes of 
their premature power. The confequences of their con- 
dudt, which in good minds, (and many of theirs are pro- 
bably fuch) might produce penitence or amendment, are 
unable to iiurlue the rapidity of their flight. Their prey is 
lodged in England J and the cries of India are giVen to feas 
and windsj to be blown about, in every breaking up of the 
monfoon, over a remote and unhearing ocean* In India all 
the vices operate by which fudden fortune is acquired j in 
England are often difplayed, by the fame perfons, the vir- 
tues which difpenfe hereditary Wealth. Arrived iti Eng-» 
land, the deftroyers of the nobility and gentry of a whole 
kingdom will find the beft company in this nation, at a 
board of elegance and hofpitality. Here the manufacSturer 
and hufbandman will blefs the juft and pundlual hand, that 
in India has torn th^ cloth from the loom, or wrefted the 
fcanty portion of rice and fait from the peafant of Bengal, or \ 

wrung from him the very opium in which he forgot his 
oppreffions and his oppreflbr* They marry into your fa- 
milies ; they enter into your fenate ; they eafe your eftates 
by loans ; they raife their valufe by demand ; they cherifh 
and protecSt your relations which lie heavy on your patron- 
age ; and there is fcarcely an houfe in the kingdom that 
does not feel fome concern and intereft that makes all re- 
form of our eaftern governttient appear officious and dif- 
gufting ; and, on the wholes a moft difcouraging attempt. 

Z z 2 In 



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356 SPEECH ON MR. FOX's 

In fuch an attempt you hurt thofe who afe able to return 
kindnefs, or to refent injury. If you fucceed, you fave 
thofe who cannot fo mvich as give you thanks. All thefe 
things fliew the difficulty of the work we have on hand : 
but they (hew its neceflity too. Our Indian government is 
in its bell itate a grievance. It is neceflary that the correc- 
tives (hould be uncommonly vigorous ; and the work of 
men fanguine, warm, and even impaffioned in the caufe. 
But it is an arduous thing to plead againft abufes of a 
power which originates from your own country, and affefts 
thofe whom we are ufed to confider as ftrangers. 

I fhall certainly endeavour to modulate myfelf to this 
temper; though I ami fenlible that a cold ftyle of defcribing 
a<5tions which appear to me in a very affecting light, is 
equally contrary to the juftice due to the people, and to all 
genuine human feelings: about therti;- I afk pardon of truth 
and nature for this compliance. But I fhall be very fparing 
of epithets either to perfons pr things. It has been faid (and, 
with regard to one of them, with truth) that Tacitus and 
Machiavel, by their cold way of relating enormous crimes, 
have in fome fort appeared not to difapprove them; that 
they feem a fort of profeflbrs of the art of tyranny, and that 
they corrupt the minds of their readers by not expreffingthe 
deteftation and horror that naturally belong to horrible and 
deteflable proceedings. But we are in general, Sir, fb little 
acquainted with Indian details; the inflruments of oppreffion 
under which the people fufFer are fo hard to be underflood ; 
and even the very names of the fufferers are fo uncouth and 
flrange to our ears, that it is very difficult for our fympathy 
to fix upon thefe objects. I am fure that fome of us have 
come down flairs from the committee-room, with impref- 
fions on our minds, which to us were the inevitable refults 
of our difcoveries, yet if we fliould venture to exprefs our- 

felves 



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E A S T - I N D I A BILL. 357 

felves in the proper language of our feritiments, to other 
gentlemen not at all prepared to enter into the caufe of 
them, nothing could appear more harfli and diflbnanr, 
more violent and unaccountable, than our language and 
behaviour. All thefe circumftances are not, I confefs, very- 
favourable to the idea of our attempting to govern India at 
all. But there we are ; there we are placed by the Sovereign 
Difpofer : and we muft do the beft we can in our fituation. 
The fituation of man is the preceptor of his duty. 

Upon the plan which I laid down, and to which I beg leave 
to return, I was confidering the eondudl of the company to 
thofe nations which are indirectly fubjed: to their authority. 
The moft confiderable of the dependent princes is the nabob 
of Oude. * My right honourable friend, to whom we owe 
the remedial bills on your table, has already pointed out to 
you, in one of the reports, the condition of that prince, 
and as it flood in the time he alluded to. I fhall only add a 
few circumftances that may tend to awaken fome fenfe of 
the manner in which the condition of the people is affedled 
by that of the prince, and involved in it ; and to ftiew you, 
that when we talk of the fufferings of princes, we do not 
lament the oppreffion of individuals; and that in thefe 
cafes the high and the low fufFer together. 

In the year 1779 the nabob of Oude reprefented, through 
the Britifli refident at his court, that the number of company's 
troops ftationed in his dominions was a main caufe of his dif- 
trefs ; and that all thofe which he was not bound by treaty 
to maintain Ihould be withdrawn, as they had greatly dimi- 
nifhed his revenue, and impoveriftied his country. I will 
read you, if you pleafe, a few extracts from thefe repre- 
fentations. 

He ftates, " that the country and cultivation are aban- 

* Mr. Fox.. 

^^ doned; 



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358 SPEECH ON MR. FOX's 

*^ doned; and this year in particular, from the exceffive 
" drought of the feafon, dedu6lions of many lacks having 
^^ been allowed to the farmers, who are ftill left unfatisfied;" 
and then he proceeds with a long detail of his own diftrefs, 
and that of his family, and all his dependants ; and adds, 
*^ that the new-raifed brigade is not only quite ufelefs to 
^* my government, but is moreover the caufe of much lofs, 
" both in revenues and cuftoms. The detached body of 
" troops under European officers bring nothing bui confu^ 
" Jton to the affairs of my government^ and are entirely their 
" own majlers.^ Mr. Middleton, Mr. Haftings*s confiden- 
tial refiderit, vouches for the truth of this reprefentation in 
its fulleft extent. " I am concerned to confefs, that there 
** is too good ground for this plea. "The misfortune has been 
^^ general throughout the whole of the viziefs [the nabob of 
" Oude] dominions^ obvious to every body ; and fo fatal 
^* have been its confequences^ that no perfon, of either 
" credit or character, would enter into engagements With 
*^ government for farming the country." He then pro- 
ceeds to give ftrong inftances of the general calamity, and 
its efFedts. 

It was now to be feen what fteps the governor geiletal and 
council took for the relief of this diftreffed country, long 
labouring under the vexations of men, and now ftricken 
by the hand of God. The cafe of a general famine is known 
to relax the feverity even of the moft rigorous govern- 
ment*— Mr. Haftings does not deny, or ihew the leaft doubt 
of the fad:. The reprefentation is humble, and almoft ab- 
jedt. On this reprefentation from a great prince^ of the 
diftrefs of his fubjedts, Mr. Haftings falls into a violent 
paflion; fuch (as it feems) would be unjuftifiable in any 
one who fpeaks of any part of bis conduct; He declares 
^' that the demands^ the tone in which they were aflerted, 
5 ^^ and 



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EASTrlNDIA BILL. 359 

f^ and the feajon in which they were made, are all equally 
^^ alarming, and appear to him to require an adequate degree 
^^ of firmnefs in this hoard, in oppojition to them." He pro-- 
ceed§ to deal out very unreferved language, on the perfon and 
chara(5ter of the nabob and his minifters. He declares, that 
in a divilion between him and the nabob, ^^ the Jlrongejl mujl 
" decide. ^^ With regard to the urgent and inftant neceflity, 
from the failure of the crops, he fays, ** xh^x perhaps expe- 
^^ dients may be found iox affording a ^r^^;^^/ relief from the 
^ burthen of which he fo heavily complains, and it Ihall be 
^^ my endeavour to feek them out :" and, left he ftiould be 
fufpeded of too much hafte to alleviate fufferings, and to 
remove violence^ he fays, " that thefe muft be gradually: 
^ applied, and their complete effe£i may be diftant\ and this- 
^^ I conceive is all he can claim of right.'* 

This complete effedt of his lenity is diftant indeed. Re- 
je<Sting this demand (as he calls the nabob's abje<5t fupplica- 
tion) he attributes it, as he ufually does all things of the 
kind, to the divifion in their government ; and fays,,*^ this- 
*^ is a powerful motive with me (however inclined I might 
^ be, upon any other occafton^ to yield to forae part of his 
^< demand) to give them an abfolute and unconditional refufal 
^^ upon the prefent ; and even to bring t9 puni/hmenty ifnty 
" influence can produce that effedly tbofe incendiaries who 
^* have endeavoured to make tbemf elves the injiruments ofdi^ 
^* vijion between usT 

Here, Sir, is much heat and paflion ; but no more con- 
iideration of the diftrefs of the country, from a failure of 
the means of fubfiftence, and (if poflible) the worfe evil of 
an ufelefs and licentious foldiery, than if they were the moft 
contemptible of all trifles. A letter is written in confe— 
quence, in fuch a ftyle of lofty defpotifm, as I believe has 
hitherto been unexampled and unheard of in the records of 

the 



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ofio SPEECH ON MR. FOX's 

the Eaft. The troops were continued. The gradual relief, 
whofe efFe6l was to be fo dijlant^ has never been fubftantially 
and beneficially applied — and the country is ruined. 

Mr. Haftings, two years after, when it was too late, faw 

the abfolute neceflity , of a removal of the intolerable 

grievance of this licentious foldiery, which, under pretence 

of defending it, held the country under military execution. 

A new treaty and arrangement, according to the pleafure of 

Mr. Haftings, took place ; and this new treaty was broken 

in the old manner, in every eflential article. The foldiery 

were again fent, and again fet loofe. The effedt of all his 

manoeuvres, from which it feems he was fanguine enough 

to entertain hopes, upon the ftate of the country, he him- 

felf informs us, ^^ the event has proved the reverfe of his 

*^ hopes, and accumulation ofdijlrefs^ debafementy and diffa-^ 

<< tisfa&ion to the nabob, and difappointment and difgrace to 

^< me, — Every meafure [which he had himfelf propofed] 

^^ has been fo conducted as to give him caufe of difpleafure ; 

«' there are no officers efl:abli(hed by which his affairs could 

« be regularly condu6ted ; mean, incapable, and indigent men 

<« have been appointed. A number of the diftri<Sts without 

" authority, and without the means of perfonal protedtion ; 

<^ fome of them have been murdered by the zemindars, and 

^< thofe zemindars, inftead of punilhment, have been per- 

" mitted to retain their zemindaries, with independent au- 

" thority ; all the other zemindars fuffered to rife up in 

*^ rebellion, and to infult the authority of the fircar, with- 

«* out any attempt made to fupprefs them ; and the compa- 

*^ ny's debt, infl:ead of being difcharged by the affignments 

^^ and extraordinary fources of money provided for that 

<* purpofcj is likely to exceed even the amount at wbicb it 

^^ Jlood at the time in zvbich the arrangement with' bis excel-^ 

^« lency %ias concluded:' The Houfe will fmile at the 

refource 



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EAST-INDIA BILL^ 361 

refource on which the dire(5lors take credit as fuch a cer- 
tainty in their curious account. 

This is Mr. Haflings's own narrative of the efFedls of his 
own fettlement* This is the ftate of the country which we 
have been told is in perfect peace and order ; and, what is 
curious, he informs us, that every part of this was foretold to 
bint in the order and manner in which it happened^ at the 
very time he made his arrangement of men and meafures. 

The invariable courfe of the company's policy is this : 
Either they fet up fome prince top odious to maintain him- 
felf without the neceflity of their affiftance ; or they foon 
render him odious, by making him the inftrument of their 
government. In that cafe troops are bountifully fent to 
him to maintain his authority. That he fhould have no 
want of affiftance, a civil gentleman, called a refident, is 
kept at his court, who, under pretence of providing duly for 
the pay of thefe troops, gets aflignments on the revenue 
into his hands. Under his provident management, debts 
foon accumulate ; new aflignments are made for thefe debts; 
until, ftep by ftep, the whole revenue, and with it the whole 
power of the country, is delivered into his hands. The 
military do not behold without a virtuous emulation the 
moderate gains of the civil department. They feel that, in 
a country driven to habitual rebellion by the civil govern- 
ment, the military is neceflary ; and they will not permit 
their fervices to go unrewarded. Tradts of country are de- 
livered over to their difcretion. Then it is found proper to 
convert their commanding officers into farmers of revenue. 
Thus, between the well paid civil, and well rewarded mili- 
tary eftablifliment, the fituation of the natives may be eafily 
conje<aured. The authority of the regiilar and lawful govern- 
nierit is every where and in every point extinguifhed. Dif- 
orders and violences arife ; they are reprefled by other dif- 

VoL. IL 3 A orders 



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362 SPEECH ON MR. FOX*9 

orders and other violences. Wherever the collecStors of the 
revenue, and the farming colonels and majors move, niin is 
about them, rebellion before and behind them. The people 
in crowds fly out of the country; and the frontier is guarded 
by lines of troops, not to exclude an enemy, but to prevent 
the efcape of the inhabitants. 

By thefe means, in the courfe of not more than four or five 
years, this once opulent and flouriftiing country, which, by 
the accounts given in the Bengal confultations, yielded more 
than three crore of Sicca rupees, that is, above three mil- 
lions fterling annually, is reduced, as far as I can difcoverj 
in a matter purpofely involved in the utmoft perpilexity, to 
lefs than one million three hundred thoufand pounds, and 
that exacted by every mode of rigour that can be devifed* 
To complete the bufinefs, moft of the wretched remnants 
of this revenue are mortgaged, and delivered into the hands 
of the ufurers at Benares (for there alone are to be fouiid 
fome lingering remains of the ancient wealth of thefe re- 
gions) at an intereft of near thirty per cent, per annum. 

The revenues in this manner failing, they feized upon 
the eftates of every perfbn of eminence in the country, and 
under the name of refumption, confifcat'ed their property. 
I wifh, Sir, to be underftood univerfally and literally, when 
I affert, that there is not left one man of property and fub- 
itance for his rank, in the whole of thefe provinces, in pro- 
vinces which are nearly the extent of England and Wales 
taken together. Not one landholder, not one banker, not 
one merchant, not one even of thofe who ufuaUy perifli 
laft, the ultitnum mortem in a ruined fkate, no one farmer of 
revenue. 

One country for a while remained, which flood as an ifland 
in the midft of the grand wafte of the company's dominion. 
My right honourable friend, in his admirable Ipeech on 

X moving 



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EAST INDIA BILL. 363 

inoving the bill, juft touched the fituation, the offences, and 

the punifhment of a native prince, called Fizulia Kh^n. This 

man, by policy and force, had protected himfelf from the 

general extirpation of the Rohilla chiefs. He was fecured 

(if that were any fecurity) by a treaty. It was ftated to 

you, as it was ftated by the enemies of that unfortunate 

man — <* that the whole of his country is what the whole 

<* country of the Rohillas was, cultivated hke a garden, 

« without one negled:ed fpot in it." — Another accufer fays, 

« Fyzoolah Khan though a bad foldier [that is the true 

** fource of his misfortune] has approved himfelf a good 

<* aumil; having, it is fuppofed, in the courfe of a few 

** years, at leaft doubled the population, and revenue of hi? 

<* country.** — In another part of the correfpondence he is 

charged with making his country an afylum for the op- 

preffed peafants, who fly from the territories of Oude. The 

improvement of his revenue, arifing from this lingle crime, 

(which Mr. Haftings confiders as tantamount to treafon) is 

ftated at an hundred and fifty thoufand pounds a year. 

Dr. Swift fomewhere- fays, that he who could make two 
blades of grafs grow where but one grew before, was a 
greater benefad:or to the human race than all the politicians 
that ever exifted. This prince, who would have been deified 
by antiquity, who would have been ranked with Ofiris, and 
Bacchus, and Ceres, and the divinities moft propitious to 
men, was, for thofe very merits, by name attacked by the 
company's government, as a cheat, a robber, a traitor. In 
th^ fame breath in which he was accufed as a rebel, he was 
ordered at once to furnifti 5,000 horfe. On delay, or (ac- 
cording to the technical phrafe, when any remonftrance is 
made to them) " on evajion^ he was declared a violator of 
treaties, and every thing he had was to be taken from him. — 
Not one word, however, of horfe in this treaty. 

3 A a The 



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364 SPEECH ON MR. FOX^s 

The territory of this Fizulla Khdn, Mr. Speaker, is lefs 
than the county of Norfolk. It is an inland country, full 
feven hundred miles from any fea port, and not diftinguilh- 
ed for any one conliderable branch of manufadture what- 
foever. From this territory feveral very confiderable fums 
had at feveral times been paid to the Britifh Refident. The 
demand of cavalry, without a ftiadow or decent pretext of 
jight, amounted to three hundred thoufand a year more, at 
the loweft computation ; and it is ftated, by the laft perfon 
fent to negotiate, as a demand of little ufe, rf it could be 
complied with ; but that the compliance was impofiible, as 
it amounted to more than his territories could fupply^ if 
there had been no other demand upon him' three hun- 
dred thoufand pound a year from an inland country not fa 
large as Norfolk I 

The thing moft extraordinary was to hear the culprit de- 
fend himfelf from the imputation of his virtues, as if they 
had been the blackeft offences. He extenuated the fuperior 
cultivation of his country. He denied its population. He 
endeavoured to prove that he had often fent back the poor 
peafant that fought Ihelter with him* — I can make no ob- 
iervation on this. 

After a variety of extortions and vexations, too fatiguing 
to you, too difgufting to me, to go through \rith, they 
found ^' that they ought to be in a better ftate to warrant 
^ forcible means ;" they therefore contented themfelves 
with a grofs fum of 150,000 pounds, for their prefent de- 
mand. They offered him indeed an indemnity from th^ir 
exactions in future for three hundred thoufand: pounds^ 
more. But he refufed to buy their fecurittes ; pleading 
(probably with truth) his poverty: but if the plea were 
not founded, in my opinion very wifely ; not choofing to 
deal any mor^ in that dangerous commodity of the compa* 

jay^» 



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EAST I IST D r A B I L L^ 36^. 

ny^s faith; and thinking it better to oppofe diffrefs antP 
unarmed ofcffinacy to tmcoloured exaxftion, than to fubjedV 
himfelf to be confidered as a: cheat, if he Ihonld make a* 
treaty in the leaft beneficial to himfelf. 

Thus they executed an exemplary piinifhment on Fizulla- 
Khfln for the culture of his country. But, confcioiis that 
the prevention of evik is the great objte6t of all good regu- 
lation, they deprived him of the means of encreafing that 
criminal cultivation in- future, by exhauftihg his coffers r 
and, that the population of his countr}^ (hould na more be a- 
ftanding reproach and libel on the company's government^ 
they bound him, by a pofitive engagerftent, not to afford' 
any fhclter whatfbever to the farmei^s and labourers who^ 
fhouW feek rfefuge- in his territories, from* the exa<Slions of 
the Britifli Refidents in Oude. • When they had done all this^ 
^ffedlually, they gave him a full and complete acquittance 
from all dharges of rebellion, or of any iritentidn to rebel, 
or of hia having originally had any intereft in, or any means- 
of rebellion. 

Thefe intended rebellions are one of the company's ftand- 
Hig refources. When money has been thought to be heaped^ 
up any where, its owners are univerfally accufed of rebet^ 
Bon, until they are acquitted of their money' and their trea— 
fens at once^ The money once taken, air accufatioiij trial, 
and punilhment ends. It is fb fettled a. refource^ that !> 
rather wonder how it comes to be omitted in the directors' 
account J but I take it for granted thiB bmiffion wilL'be fup-- 
plied in their next edition. 

The company ffretched this refource to the full exteAt^ 
when they accufed two' old women, in' the remoteft corner* 
ef India (who could have no poffible view or motive to raife 
difturbances) of being engaged in rebellion, with an intent 
ISO drive out the Englifla nation in whofe prdtedion, pur- 
chafed 



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366 -SPEECH ON MR. FOX'S 

chafed by money and fequrcd by treaty, refted the fole hope 
of their, exiftence. But the company wanted money, and 
the old women mujl be guilty of a plot. They were ac- 
cufed of rebellion, and they were convicted of wealth. Twice 
had great fums been extorted from them* and as often had 
the Britifh faith guaranteed the remainder. A body of 
Bxitifti troops, with one of the miUtary farmers general at 
their head, was fcnt to feize upon the caftle in which thefe 
helplefs women refided. Their chief eunuchs, who were 
their agents, thdr guardians, proteAors, perfons of high 
rank according to the EaAeri^ ir^ainners and of great truft, 
were thrown into dungeons, to make them difcover their 
hidden treafures ; and there they lie at prefent. The lands 
ailigned for the maintenance of the women wef e feized and 
confifcated. Their jewels and efFe^ were taken, and fet 
up to a pretended aud^on in an obfcure place, and bought 
at fuch a price as the gentlemen thought proper to give. 
No account has ever been tranimittcd of t;lie articles or pro- 
duce of this fale. What money was obtained is unknown,, 
or what terms were ftipulated for the maintenance of thefe 
defpoiled and forlorn creatures; for by fbme particulars it 
appears ^ if an engagement of the kind was made. 

Jbet me here remark* once for all, that though the adl of 
1773 requires that an account of all proceedings fhould be 
diligently tranfmitted, that this, like all the other injunc- 
tions of the law, is totally defpifed ; and that half at leaft 
of the mpft important papers are intentionally withheld. 

I wilh you, Sir, to advert particularly, in this trania<Stion, 
to the quality and the numbers of the perfons fpoikd, and 
the infkrument by whom that fpoil was rnade. Thefe an- 
cient matrons called the Begums or Princeflfes, were of the 
firft birth and quality in Indi?, the one mother, the other 
wife, of the late Nabob of Oude, Sujah :po.wlah, a prince 

pofiefled 



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EAST I N i> I A B f L L. 367 

J)oflefled of ext^nfive and flburilhing dominionsj and the fe- 
cond man in the Mogul empire. This prince (fufpicious, 
and not unjuftly fufpicious^ of his fon and fucceffOr) at his 
death committed his treafures^ and his family to the Britilh 
faith. That! family and houllidld, confifted of tivct tboufand 
Ijoomeh ; to which were added two other feraglios of near 
kindred, ^dfaid-to be extremely numerous, and (as I ani 
well informed) of about fourfcore of the Nabob's children,, 
with all the eunuchs, the ancient fervants, and a multitude 
of the dependants of his fplendid court,- Thefe were all to 
Be provided, for prefent maintenarrce and futur'e cffablifh- 
itient, from the lands affigned as dOSviir, and fi'bm the trea- 
fures which he left to thefe matrons, in truft for the whole 
family. 

So far as to the obJe<5ls of the fpoil. The injirument chofem 
by Mr. Hafting^ ka deifpoil the rfelift'bf Stijah £)owlah was 
her ownfoHy the reigning nabob of Oude. it was the pious 
hand of a fon that waS^ felefted to tfear fi-oiii' hi^ mother and' 
grandmother the provilion of their age, the mdiritenance of 
his brethren, and of all the ancient hoiifehold of his father^. 
[Here a laugh frohi fOhie young membei^}^— The laugh is 
y^^o«flf^/(?, and the' occalibn decent and' pVofiei^.' '' "' ' 

By the laft advices fomethirig| of the fnm extolled re-^ 
mained unpaid. The women in defpalr refufed to deliver 
more, unlefs their lands are reftored, and their minifters 
releafed from prifon: but Mr. Haftings and his council,, 
fteady to their point, and confiftent to the laft in their con- 
dudt, write to the relident to ftimulate the fbn to accomplilh 
the filial ajfts he had brought To near to their perfeftion.— i. 
« We defire,'* fay they in their letter to the relident (written 
fo late as March laft) " that you will inform us if any, and 
** what mearis, have been taken for Recovering the balance 
« due froni the Begum [Princefs] at Fizabad ; and that, if 

<* necefTary, 



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368 SFEJECH pN/MR;. FOX'^s 

^^ neeeffary, you recommend it to the vizier to enforce ibe 
^ mojl effec/ual mieam for that purpofe." 

What their effectual means of enforcing demands on 
Avomen of liigh ranJc and condition, are, I Ihall Ihew you, 
Sir^ in a few niinutes ; when I reprefent to ypu another of 
tliefe plots and rebellions, which always^ \x\ India, though fo 
rarel^^ any wliere elfe, are the offspring of aneafy condition, 
apd Jioarded ridies. - ' 

Benares is the capital x:ity of the Indian religion. It is 
Tegarded as holy by a particular apd diftjlnguiflied fandity ; 
and the Qent VIS in general think themfelves a& much obliged 
to vilit it once in, their Uves as? the Mahometans to perform 
their pilgrimage tp Mecca* By this means that city grew 
great in commerce and opulence ; and fo effectually was it 
•fccured . by the pious veneration of that people, that in all 
wars and in all violences of power, there was fo furc an 
afylum^ both for poverty and wealths (as it were .under a 
divine protedtion) tliat the wifeft laws, and beft affured free 
conftitution could not better provide for the relief of the one, 
•or the fafety of the other,; and this tranquillity influenced 
to thi? greatcft degree the profperity of all the •country, and 
the territory of which it. was the xiapital. . The intereftof 
itioney. there was not more than hal^ the ufualrate in which 
it fiofii in. all othqr places* The reports have fully informed 
you of the means and of the. terms in which this city and 
the territory called Gazipour, of which it was the head, 
came under, the Sovereignty of tjhe Eaft India company. 

. If ever there was a fubordinate dominion pleafantly cir- 
cunaftanced to the fuperior power, it was this ; a large rent 
or tribute^ to^the amount of two hundred and lixty thou- 
fand pounds a year, was paid in monthly inftalments with 
the pun6tuality of a dividend at the bank.: If. ever there 
was a prince who could not have an intereft in difturbanccs, 

it 



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E A S T , I N D I A B I L L. 369 

it was its fovereign, the rajah Gheit Sing. He was in pojf- 
feffion of the capital of his religion, and a willing revenue 
was paid by the devout people who reforted to him from 
all parts. His fovereignty and his independence, except his 
tribute, was fecured by every tie. His territory was not 
much lefs than half of Ireland, and difplayed in all parts a 
degree of cultivation, eafe, and plenty, under his frugal and 
paternal management, which left him nothing to defire, 
either for honour or fatisfadlion. 

This was the light in which this country appeared to 
almoft every eye. But Mr. Haftings beheld it afkance. 
Mr. Haftings tells us that it was reported oi this Gheit Sing, 
that his father left him a million fterling, and that he made 
annual acceffions to the hoard. Nothing could be fo ob- 
noxious to indigent power. So much wealth could not be 
innocent. The houfe is fully acquainted with the un- 
founded and unjuft requifitions which were made upon this 
prince. 1 The queftiqn has been moft ably and conclulively 
cleared up in. one of the reports of the feledt committee, and 
in an anfwer of the court of diredtors to an. extraordinary 
publication againft them. by their fervant, Mr. Haftings. 
But I mean to pafs by thefe exa<Stions, as if they w^ere per-r 
feftly juft and regular; and, having admitted them, I take 
what I fliall now trouble you with, only as it ferves to fliew 
the fpirit of the company's government, the mode in which 
it is carried on, and the maxims on which it proceeds. 

: Mr. Haftings, from whom I take the dodrine, endeavours 
to prove that Gheit Sing was no fovereign prince ; but a 
mere zemindar or common fubje(5t, holding land by rent.. 
If this be granted to him, it is next to be feen under what 
terms he is of opinion fuch a land-holder, that is a Britifti 
fubjedt, holds his life and property under the company*s 
government. It is proper to underftand well the do(5trines 
: Vol. II. ' 3^ of 



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^b Sl>££GH ON UK. TOX's 

bf the pbribh whoTe adminiifafatioli has lialely^FCCfeivedfYich 
dHtinguiJlied appirobatioh from die company, f&s do^rine 
is^*< that the<;ompany, or the perjbfi dekgutid hy it<t holds 
*< an abfolute authority over ftich zemindars ; — that he 
«* [fuch a fubje^J owes an implicit and unreferved obe- 
" dience to its authority, at the forfeiture even of his Hfe 
*« and property, at the discretion of thofe who held or 
" fully reprefented the fovereign authority; — and that tbefe 
" rights ZTG fully delegated to bitn Mr. Haftings.** 

Such is a Britiih governor's idea of the condition of a 
great zemindar holding under a Britifh authority ; and this 
kind of authority he fuppofe3 fully delegated to bim\ 
though no fuch delegation appears in any commiffion, in- 
ftru6tion, or adl of parliament. At his difcretion he may 
demand, of the fubftance of any zemindar over and above 
his rent or tribute, even what he pleafes, with a fovereign 
authority ; and if he does not yield an implicit unreferved 
obedience to all his commands, he forfeits bis lands, .his 
life, and his property, at Mr. Haftiftgs*s difcretion. But, ex- 
travagant and even frantic -as thefe poiitions appear, they 
are lefs fo than what I Ihall now read to you ; for he ai&rts, 
that if any one fhould urge an exemption from morethan 
a ftated payment, or ftiould confider the deeds, which pafied 
between him and the board, "as bearing tbe quality and 
<* force of a treaty between equal ftates,** he fays, ** thjtf 
" fuch an opinion is itfelf criminal to the ftate of which he 
*< is a fubjedt ; and that he Was himfelf amenable to its 
« juftice, if he gave countenance to ixida. ^ belief ,** Here is 
a new fpecies of crime invented, that of countenancing a 
belief— but a belief of what ? A belief of that which the 
court of direftors, Haftings's matters, and a conomittee of 
'this houfe, have decided as this prince's indi^utafale 
'Tight. • - 

But 



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• ?u^ fuppofing thejrajaii of Benares tja be a jijere fqbje<9;, 
and that fubjecSt a criminal of the higheft form ; let us fee 
what courfe was taken by an upright EngUfti niagiftrate* 
Did he cite this culprit before his tribunal ? Did he make a 
charge ? Did he produce witnefles ? Thefe are not forms ; 
they are parts of fubftantial and eternal juftice. No, not a 
word of all this. Mr. Haftings concludes him, in bis own 
mind, to be guilty ; he makes this conclulion on reports, on 
hear-fays, on appearances^ on rumours, on conjectures, oi;i 
prefumptions; and even thefe never once hinted to the 
party, nor publicly to any human being, till the whole b\i* 
iinefs was done. 

But the governor tells you his motive fpr this extraordi- 
nary proceeding, fo contrary to every mode of juftice towards 
either a prince or a fubjedt, fairly and without difguife; 
and he puts into your hands the key of his whole condu<5t : 
T-f* I will fuppofe, for a moment, that I have a^ed witli 
-:<.* unwarrantable rigour towards Gheit Sing, and eyejb with 
*.* injuftice.-rLet my motive be confulted. I left Calcutta, 
*< ^mprefTed with a belief that extraordinary means ^yere 
« neceirary,.and thofe exerted with », Jieaidy ban4, to pre> 
.i<* ft^e,thp company's interejis from Jinking under the accu" 
<» triiildtet^ weight wb,icb . Qpprejffed them. I law a political 
^^ fiej^ejity for curbing the. oyjergrmvn power of a,greqt 
,<* member of their dominion, and fpr making it contribute 
■ -" 4a .tii£ relief of their pr^ffing exigencies J* This* is plain 
jipeaking ; ^ter this, it is no wonder that the ^rajah's ^Yealth 
^ai>d his osipfence, the neceffities pf the judge, and the opi;- 
^Ce.of the jdelin^quent, are never feparated, thrpu^li.the 
whole pif Mr. Haftingsts apolpgy. ** The juftice and policy 
. ^*, of ei^ing a large pecuniary. tnuW^ ' TheVeiTolvition " to 
<« dranp from bis guilt X^c ineans of relief to the comparifs 
T*' ^fiy.fff^^ . His detenwination .<* to "make .him /jy /^r^^ 

382 • " ' "for 



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572 St>££CH ON MR. FOX^s 

^* for his pardon, or to execute a fevere vengeance for paft 
" delinquency." That "as \\h wealth was great j and the 
'" companfs exigencies prefling, he thought it a meafure of 
" juftice and policy to exadt from him a large pecuniary 
^^ muldl for their reliefs — «* The fum (fays Mr. Wheler, 
bearing evidence, at his defire, to his intentions) " to which 
" the governor declared his refolution to extend his fine, 
** was forty or fifty lacks, that is four or five hundred thou- 
^^ Jand pounds \ and that if he refufed, he was to be removed 
^' from his zemindary entirely ; or by taking poflelfion of 
" his forts, to obtain, out of the ireafure depoftted in thenty 
^^ the above fum for the company," 

Crimes fo convenient, crimes fo politic, crimes fo necef- 
fary, crimes fo alleviating of diftrefs, can never be wanting 
to thofe who ufe no procefs, and who produce no proofs. 

But there is another ferious part (what is not fo?) in this 
affair. Let us fuppofe that the power, for which My. 
Haftings contends, a power which no fovereign ever did, or 
ever can veft in any of his fubjedts, namely, his own fove- 
reign authority, to be conveyed by the adt of parliament to 
any man or body of men whatfoever; it certainly was 
never given to Mr. Haftings. The powers given by the aft 
of 1773 were formal and official ; they were given, not to 
the governor general, but to the major vote of the board, 
as a board, on difcuffion amongft.themfelves, in their publiq 
characSler and capacity ; and their a6ts in that charaAer and 
capacity were to be afcertained by records and minutes of 
council. The defpotic adls exercifed by Mr. Haftings were 
done merely in his private chara<5ter ; and, if they had beeti 
moderate and juft, would ftill be the adts of an ufurped 
authority, and without any one of the legal modes of pro- 
ceeding which could give him competence for the moft 
trivial exertion of power. There was no propofition or 

deliberation 



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EAST . .1 N P J A BILL. 373 

deliberation what^ever in co\inciJ, no minuf e on record, by- 
circulation or otherwife, to a^itl^orize his proceedings. No 
delegation of power to ixnpofe a fine,, or to. take any flap to 
deprive the rajah of Benares of his government, his pro- 
perty, «r his liberty. The minutes of confultation ailigir 
to his journey a totally diflfefentobjedt, duty, Mid deilina- 
lion. Mr. Wheler, at his deiire, tells us long after,. tha,t he 
had aconftilential con verfation with him on various fub- 
je<Sts, of which this was the principal, in which Mr. Haftings 
notified to him his fecret intentions ; " and that he be/poke 
.** his fnpport of the meafures which he. intended to purfue 
** towards, him (the r^ah.)" This confidential difcourfe, 
and be/peaking of fupport, covild give him no ^owei",. in opr 
pofition to an exprefs a<5t of parliament, and the whole tenor 
of the orders of the court of dire(5lors. 

In what m^ner the powers thus ufurped were employed, 
is known to the whole world. All the houfe knows, that 
the defign on.the iiajah proved as unfruitful as it was violent. 
•The unhappy prince was expelled, and his more unhappy 
country was enflaved and ruined ; but not a rupee was 
acquired. Initead of treafure to recruit the conjpany's fi- 
nances, wafted by their wanton wars and corrupt jobbs> 
they were plunged into a new war, whicl^ (hook their' power 
in India to its foundation ; and, to iife the governor's own 
happy fimile, might have diflblved it like a magic ftrudure, 
if the talifman had been broken. 

• But the fuccefs is no part of my confideratipn, who fhould 
think juft the fame of this bufinefs, if the fpoil of one rajah 
had been fully acquired, and faithfully applied to the de- 
ftrudlion of twenty other rajahs. Not only the arreft of the 
rajah in his palace was unnecfeflary and unwarrantable, and 
calculated to ftir up any manly blood wljich remained in his 
fubje^sj.but the defpptic ftylei and the extreme infolence of 
. . . ' language 



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37+ 9t»EfeCHONMR. POX'S 

language and demeanour, ttfed to a peribn of great <:dndition 
among the politeil j)eopie ih the Worid, "vras intolerable. No- 
thing aggravates tyranny fo much as contumely, ^tficquid 
fuperbia in contumeliis was charged by a great man of anti- 
quity, as a principal head of oflfence againft the governor 
general of that day. The unhappy peoplfe were ilill more 
infulted. A relation^ but an enetny to the family, a noto- 
rious robber and villain, called Uflaun Sing, kept as a hawk 
in iL mew, to fly upon this nation, was fetup to govern there, 
inftead of a prince honoured and beloved. But when the 
bufinefs of infiilt was accompKfhed, the reventie was too 
ferious a concern to be entrufted to fuch handls. Another 
was fet up in his place, as guardian to an infant. 
' 15uthere, Sir, mark the effect of all thefe extraordinary 
means, of all this policy and juftice. The revenues which 
had been Mtherto paid with fuch aftonifhing puntSluality, 
fen into arrear. Thfe new prince guardian' was depofed 
turithOut ceremony ; and with as little, caft into prifen. The 
government of that once happy country has been in the ut- 
moft confufion ever fince fuch good order was taken aboot 
it. But, to complete the contumely t)fFered to this undone 
■people, and' to make'fhem fed their fervitude in jfll its de- 
gradation, and all itsbittefnefs, the government of their fa- 
cred city, the government df that Benares which had been 
ib refpeSled by Perfian 'and Tartar conquerors, though of 
the Mufliilman perluafion, that, even in the plenitude of 
their pridie, 'power, and bigotry, no magiftrate of that fe<Sl 
entered the. place, waSiibW delivered overby Englifli han^ 
to a^ahometan ; and'an All Ibrahim Khih was introduced, 
tinder the company's authority, with power of life and-deatb, 
into the fariftuary of the^GentTft religion. 

Aftfer'this, the faking e>fF a flight/payment, cheaffully 
made by pilgrims to a thief of their own ritesV was repre- 

fented 



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EAST J Jf D :I A B IL L. 575 

Tented as a mighty benefit. It remains only to (hew, through 
the conduA ixn this bii^i^fs, the fpirit of the .coQipa|iy*s 
government, and the xefpe^ they pay towards other pre-r 
judiees not lefs regarded in -the eaft Uian thofe of religion ; 
{ mean the reverenqe paid to the female fex in general, and 
particnlarly to women of high rank and condition. During 
Che general confafion of the country of Qazypore, Pannsy 
the mother of Cheit $ing, was lodged with her train in a 
caftle called Bidg^ Gur, in which were likewife (lepp/Qiteda 
large portion of the treafvires of her foq, or i^ore probably 
Jber own. To whomfo^^v/er they belonged wajs indifierjent ; 
for though no charge of rebellion was made on this w^man 
(which was rather Angular, as it would have coil ^lothing) 
they were refolved to fecure her witih her fortun^. Th^ 
caftle was be%ed by major Popham. 

There was no great reafon to appreh^d that fo^d^r^s ill 

paid, that iibldiers who thought they had been defrauded o^ 

their plunder on former feryices of t^e fame kind, would 

not have been fufficiently attentive to the ipoil they were 

exprefsly come for ; but the gallantry and generoiity of the 

profeffion was juftly Cufpe^tedi as being likely to iet bounds 

to military rapacioufnefii. The company's i&rft civil magif- 

trate difcovered the gres^eft unea(inefs left the women 

ihould have any thing preferved to them> Terms, tending 

to put fome reftraint on military vioknce, were granted. 

.He writes a letter to Mr. Pop^aro, referring to fome letter 

written before to. the fame e0e<St, which I do not remember 

to have feen ; but it fhews his an^ety oh this fubje6t» He^r 

' himfelf : — " I think every det^nd fhe has made on yoii» 

• *< except that of fafety and refpe<5t to her perfon, is unrea- 

" fi>nable. If the reports brought to me are ti;ue, your »e- 

•* je^ng her ofiers, or any negoii0tionr woijld fopn .obtaini 

. *• you the fort upon yQur o^n.tprms* I f,pf(i;ebend Jhe 

■ § ** will 



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576 Sl>£EGH ON MR. FOX^s 

" will ahempt to defraud the captors of a confderable part 
*^ of their booty ^ by being fuffered to retire without examina-- 
" tion. But this is your concern, not mine^ I fhould be 
«^ veryforry that your officers and foldiers loft any part of 
<* the reward to which they are fo well entitled ; but you 
" muft be the beft judge of the /)row//^rf indulgence to the 
<^ Ranny : what you have engaged for I will certainly ratify; 
<< but as to fufFering the Ranny to hold the purgunna of 
^^ Hurlich, or any other zemindary, without being fubjeiSJ: 
^^ to the authority of the Zemindar, or any lands whatfoever^ 
^^ or indeed making any condition with her for a provijion^ 
^< I will never confent.^ 

Here your governor ftimulates a rapacious and licentious 
foldiery to the perfonal fearch of women, left thefe unhappy 
creatures fliould avail themfelves of the protection of their 
fex to fecure any fupply for their neceffities ; and he poli- 
tively orders that no ftipulation fhould be made for any pro- 
vifion for them. The widow and mother of a prince, well 
informed of her miferable fituation, and the caufe of it, a 
woman of this rank became a fuppliant to the domeftic ler- 
vant of Mr. Haftings (they are his own words that I read ;) 
^* imploring his interceffion, that ftie may be relieved from 
^< the hardjhips and dangers of her prefent fttuation ; and 
. <* offering to furrender the fort, and the treafure and ^^- 
<< luable effe&s contained in it, provided fhe can be afllired 
" ?/7^/^(y ^^^ P^oteSfion to her perfon and honour^ and to 
^^ that of her family and attendants." He is fo good as to 
confent to this, ** provided fhe furrenders every thing of 
^* value, with the referve only of fuch articles as you fhall 
^< think necejfary to her condition, or as you yourfelf fhall 
*^ be difpofed to indulge her with.— But fliould fhe refufe 
*^ to execute the promife fhe has made, or delay it beyond 
^* the term of twenty-four hours, it is my pofitive injunc- 

« tion. 



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EAST INDIA BILL. 377 

^ tion, that you immediately put a flop to any further in- 
^ tercourfe or .negocjation with her, and on no pretext re- 
" new it. If flie difappoints or trifles with me, after I have 
*^ fubjedted my duan to.the difgrace of returning inefFe(Stual- 
^f ly, and of courfe ipyfftlf to difcredit,,! fliall confider it as a 
^< ^^/iro« affront and indignity wf^icb L cait 7tever forgive \ 
^ nor will I grant hqr any conditions* whatever, but leave 
" her expofed to //&q/^ dangers which Ihe has chofen to 
*' rifque, rather, than truft to the clemency and generofity 
^< of our government. I think (he cannot be ignorant of 
^^ thefe cohfequences, and will not venture to incur them ; 
*^ and it isibr this reafon I place a dependance on her offers, 
<^ and have confented to fend my duan to her/' The 
dreadful feccet hinted at by the merciful governor in the 
latter part of , the letter,' is \yell underftood in India; where, 
thofe who fuffer corporeal indignities, generally expiate the 
dffences of jolhers with their own blood. However, in fpite* 
of all thefe, the temper of the military did, fome way or 
other, operatie. . They came to terms which have never 
been tranfmitted. . Jt appear? that a fifteenth per cent. of. 
the plunder was referved to the captives, of which the unr 
happy mother of the princp of Benares was to have a iliare. 
This antient matron, born to better things [a laugh from 
certain young gentlemen] — I fee no caufe for this mirth. A 
good author of antiquity reckons among the calamities of his 
time, NobiliffimarwnfoBminarum ex ilia et fugas. I fay. Sir, 
this antient lady was compelled to quit her houfe with three 
hundred helplefs women, and a multitude of children in her 
train ; but the lower fort in the camp it feems could not be 
reftrained. They did not forget the good leffons of the go- 
vernor general. They were unwilling " to be defrauded 
*< of a confiderable part of their booty, by fuffering them 
^ to pafs without examination." — They examined them. 
Vol. II. 3G . Sir, 



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3:^8 SPEECH ON MR. F0X*8 

Sir, with a vengeance, and the facred prote<5kion of Aat 
awful chara<5ter, Mr. Haftings's maitre d'hotel, could not fe* 
cure them from infult and plunder. Here is Popham's nar- 
rative of the zffsdx :— " The ranny came out of the fort, 
** with her family and dependants, the loth at night, owing 
" to which fuch attention was not paid to her as I wiflied ; 
<* and I am exceedingly forry to inform you, that the Jicen- 
" tioufnefs of our followers was beyond the bounds of confroul; 
" for, notivitbJlaTiding all I could do, ber people were plundered 
** on the road of mojl of tbe tbings wbicb tbey brought out 
" of tbe fort, by wbicb means one of tbe articles of furrendet 
<* bas been much infringed. The diftrefs I have felt upon 
** this occafion cannot be exprefled, and can only be allayed 
" by a firm performance of the other articles of the treaty, 
<< which I Ihall make it my bulinefs to enforce. 

" The fufpicions which the oflSicers had of treachery, 
** and the delay made to our getting poffefiion, had enraged 
*< them, as well as the troops, fb much, that the treaty was 
*' at firft regarded as void, but this determination was foon 
«* fucceeded by pity and compailion for the unfortunate be- 
** iieged." — After this comes, in his due order, Mr. Haftings; 
who is full of forrow and indignation, 8cc. 8cc. 8cc. according 
\6 the beft and moft authentic precedents eftabliihed upon 
iiich occaiions. 

The women being thus difpofed of, that isj completely 
defpoiled, and pathetically lamented, Mr. Haflings at length 
recoUedted the great object of his enterprize, which, during 
his zeal left the officers and foldiers fhould lofe any part of 
their reward, he feems to have forgot; that is to lay, ** to 
« draw from the rajah's guilt the means of relief to the 
** company's diftrefTes." This was to be the fh-ong hold of 
his defence. This compafiion to the company, he knew by 
experience would fan<Stify a great deal of rigour towards the 

natives. 



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EAST INDIA BILL. 379 

natives. But the military had diftreffes of their own, whicK 
they confidered firft. Neither Mr. Haftings's authority, 
nor his fuppltcations, could prevail on them to aflign a flifl- 
ling to the claim he made on the part of the company. 
They divided the booty amongft themfelves. Driven from 
his daim he was reduced to petition for the fpoil as a loan. 
But the foldiers were too wife to venture as a loan, what the 
borrower claimed as a right. In defiance of all authority* 
they {hared anjongft themfelves about two hundred thou- 
fand pounds fterliog, befides what had been taken from the 
women i 

In all this there is nothing wonderful. We may reft af- 
fured, that when the maxims of any government eftablifti 
among its refources extraordinary means, and thofe exerted 
with a ftrong hand, that ftrong hand will provide thofe ex- 
traordinary means for itfelf. Whether the foldiers had rea- 
fon or not (perhaps much might be faid for them) certain 
it is, the military difcipline of India was ruined from that 
moment; and the fame rage for plunder, the fame contempt 
of fubordination, which blafted all the hopes of extraordi- 
nary means from your ftrong hand at Benares, have very 
lately loft you an army in Myfore. This is vifible enough 
from the accounts in the la^ Gazette. 

There is no doubt but that the country and city of Be- 
nares, now brought into the fame order, will very foon 
exhibit, if it does not already difplay the fame appearance 
with thofe coiamries and cities which are under better fub- 
je(Sfcion. A great mafter, Mr. Haftings, has himfelf been at 
the pains of drawing a piiSture of one of thefe countries, I 
mean the province and city of Farrudcabad. There is no 
reaibn to queftion his knowledge of the fa<5ts ; and his au- 
thority (on this point at leaft) is above all exception, as well 
for the ftate of the country, as for the caufe. In his minute 

3 C a of 



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38o SPEECH ON MR. FOX*s 

of confultation, Mr. Haftings defcribes forcibly the confe- 
quences which arife from the degradation into which we 
have funk the native government. "The total want (fays 
" he) of all order, regularity, or authority, in his (thena- 
♦< bob of Farruckabad's) government, and to which, among 
^^ other obvious caufes, it may no doubt be owing that the 
" country of Farruckabad is become aJmo^ an entire wajie^ 
^^ Without cultivation or inhabitants; that the capital, which> 
*^ but a very fhort time ago, was diftinguilhed as one of the 
«* moft populous and opulent commercial cities in Hindoftan,, 
•« at prefent exhibits nothing hmfcenes of the moji wretched 
*^ poverty J defolation^ and mifery ; and that the nabob him/elf^ 
•« though in the poffeffion of a tra6t of country which, with 
•* only common care, is notorioufly capable of yielding an 
<< annual revenue of between thirty arid forty lacks, (three 
" or four hundred thoufand jwunds) with no military e^a^ 
«^ blijhntent to maintain, fcarcely commands the means^of a: 
« barejubjijiance.'^ 

This is a true and unexaggerated pi<fture, not only of 
Farruckabad, but of at leaft three-fourths of the country 
which we poflcfs, or rather lay wafte, in India. Now, Sir, the 
Iioufe will be defirous to know for what purpofe this pifture 
was drawn. It was for a purpofe, I will not fay laudable, but 
neceffary, that of taking the unfortunate- prince and his 
country out of the hands of a feqiieftrator fent thither by the 
n>ibob of Oude, the mortal enemy of the prince thus ruined*, 
and to protect him by means of a Britifli' relident, who 
might carry his complaints to the fuperior refident at Oude, 
or tranfmit them to Calcutta. But mark, how the re-- 
former perfilVcd in his reformation. The efFe6l of the mea^- 
fiire was better than was probably expeftedw Tfe^ prince 
began to be at eafe ;■ the country began to recover ; and the 
revenue began to be collected. Thefe were^ alarming eir- 

cumftancesv 



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EAST INDIA BILL, 3gi 

ctimftances. Mr. Haftings not only recalled the refident, 
but he entered into a fornaal ftipulation with the nabob of 
Oude^ never to fend an Englifli fubje(5t again to Farruck- 
abad; and thus the country, defcribed as you have heard 
hy Mr. HaftingSr is given up for ever to the very perfons to 
whom he had attributed its ruin,, that is to the Sezawals or 
fequeftrators of the nabob of Oude.^ 

Such was the iffue of the firft attenTi>t to relieve the dif- 
trcfles of the dependent provinces. Ifliall clofe what I have to 
fey on the condition of the northern dependencies, with the 
effect of the laft of thefe attempts. You will recolledt, Sir^ 
the account I have not long ago ftated to you as given by Mr. 
Haftings, of the ruined condition of the deftroyer of others, 
the nabob of Oude, and of the recal, in confequence, of Han- 
nay, Middleton, and Johnfon. When the lirft little fudden 
guft of paffian again ft thefe gentlemen was fpent,. the fenti- 
ments of old friendfhip began to revive- Some healing 
conferences were held between them and thefupe^iof go-- 
vernment. Mr. Hannay was permitted to return to Qude; 
but death prevented the further advantages intended for 
him, and the future benefits propofed for the country by 
the provident care, of the council generals 

One of thefe gentlemen was accufed of the grofleft pecu- 
lations. Twoof them, by Mr. Haftings himfelf, of what he* 
confidered as very grofs offences. The court of dire(5lors 
were informed, by the governor general and council, that 
a fevere enquiry would be inftituted againftthe two furvi- 
vors ; and. they requefted that court to fufpend its judg- 
ment, and to wait the event of their proceedings. A mock- 
enquiry has been. inftituted, by which the parties could not 
' be faid to be either acqpit;ted or condemned. By, means of 
the bland and conciliatory difpofitions of the charter go- 
vernors, and proper private explanations,. the public enquiry 
. . has^ 



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SSi SPEECH ON MR. FOX*$ 

has in effect died away, the fuppofed peculators and de- 
Itroyers of Oude repofe in all fecurity in the bofoms of their 
accufers ; whiUl others fucceed to them to be inAru^led by 
their example. 

It is only to complete the view I propofed of the condu(St 
of the company, with regard to the dependent provinces, 
that I fliall fay any thing at all of the Garnatic, which is the 
fcene, if poffible, of greater diforder than the northern 
provinces- Perhaps it ^vere better to fay of this center and 
metropolis of abufe, whence all the reft in India and in 
England diverge; from whence they are fed and me- 
thodized, what was faid of Carthage — de Cartbagine fatius 
ejljilere quam parum dicer e. This coimtry, in all its deno- 
minations, is about 46,000 fquare miles. It may be affirmed 
univerfally, that not one perfon of fubftance or property, 
landed, commercial, or monied, excepting two or three 
bankers, who are neceflary depofits and difbributors of the 
general fpoil, is left in all that region. In that country the 
moifture^ the bounty of Heaven, is given but at a certain 
feafon. Before the sera of our influence, the induftry of 
man carefully hufbanded that gift of God. The Genti!ls 
preferved, with a provident and religious care, the precious 
dejwfit of the periodical rain in refervoirs, many of them 
works of royal grandeur ; and from thefe, as occafion de- 
manded, they fructified the whole country. To maintain 
thefe refervoirs, and to keep up an annual advance to the 
cultivators, for feed and cattle, formed a principal object of 
the piety and policy of the priefts and rulers of the Gentii 
religion. 

This obje<St required a command of money ; and there 

was no poUam, or caftle, which in the happy days of the 

Carnatic was without fome hoard of treafure, by which the 

governors were enabled to combat with the irregularity of 

2 the 



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EAST INDIA BILL. 583 

the feafons, and to refill or to buy off the invafion of an 
enemy. In all the cities were multitudes of merchants and 
bankerS} for all occafions of monied afliftance ; and on the 
other hand, the native princes were in condition to obtain 
credit from them. The manufacturer was paid by the re- 
turn of commodities, or by imported money, and not, as at 
prefent, in the taxes that had been originally exa<Sted from 
his induftry. In aid of cafual diftrefs, the country was full 
of choultries, which were intis and hofpitals, where the 
traveller and the poor were relieved. All ranks of people 
had their place in the public concern, and their fhare in the 
common ftock and common profperity ; but the chartered 
rights ofmeriy and the right which it was thought proper to 
fet up in the nabob of Arcot, introduced a new fyftem. It 
was their policy to confider hoards of money as crimes ; to 
regard moderate rents as frauds on the fovereign ; and to 
view, in the lefler princes, any claim of exemption from 
more than fettled tribute, as an a<ft of rebellion. Accord- 
ingly all the caiUes were, one after the other, plundered 
and deftroyed. The native princes were expelled ; the hof- 
pitals fell to ruin ; the refervoirs of water went to decay ; 
the merchants, bankers, and manufacturers difappeared; 
and fterility, indigence, and depopulation, overfpread the 
face of thefe once flouriihing provinces. 

The company was very early fenfible of thefe mifchiefs, 
and of their true caufe. They gave precife orders, " that 
*< the native princes, called polygars, Ihould not be extir- 
« pated. — That the rebellion [fothey choofeto call it] of the 
" iwlygars, may (they fear) ijoitb too much jujlice, be attri- 
.« buted to the mal-adminiftration of the nabob's collectors.'* 
That " they obferve with concern, that their troops have 
<* been put to dif agreeable fervices." They might have 
ufed a ftronger expreffion without impropriety. But they 

make 



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38*4 .SPEEC HON MR. FOX 's 

make amendB in another place. Speaking of fhe polygars, the 
clire6tors fay, that *' it was repugnant to humanity to force 
^« them to fuch dreadful extremities as tbey underwent:' That 
fome examples of feveiity nnght be neceflary, *^ when they 
^« fell into the nabob's hands," and not by the dejiru&ion of 
the country. " That they fear his government is none of the 
" mildeji ; and that there is great oppreffton in colleiaing his 
*^ revenues." They ftate, that the wars in which he has in- 
volved the Carnatic, had been a caufe of its diftrelles. 
^^ That thefe diftrefles have been certainly great; but thofe 
" by the nabob* s opprejjions we believe to be greater than alir 
Pray, Sir, attend to the reafon for their opinion that the 
government of this their inftrument is more calamitous to 
the country than the ravages of war. — Becaufe, fay they, 
his oppreffions are ^^ without intermijjion. — The others afe 
•^ temporary ; by all which oppreffions we believe the nabob 
^ has great wealth in ftore." From this ftore neither he 
nor they could derive any advantage whatfoever, upon the 
invafion of Hyder Ali in the hour of their greateft calamity 
and difmay. 

It i« now proper to compare thefe declarations with the 
company's condu6l. The principal reafon which they af- 
figned againft the extirpation of the polygars was, that the 
weavers were protedled in their fortrefles. They might 
have added, that the company itfelf, which ftung them to 
death, had been warmed in the bofom of thefe unfortunate 
princes : for, on the taking of Madras by the French, it was 
in their hofpitable poUams, that moft of the inhabitants 
found refuge and prote<Slion. But, notwithftanding all thefe 
orders, reafons, and declarations, they at length gave an in- 
direct fandion, and permitted the ufe of a very direcSt and 
irrefiftible force, to meafures which they had, over and 
over again, declared to be falfe policy, cruel, inhuman, and 
. 9 oppreflive* 



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EAST INDIA BILL. 385 

oppreffive. Having, however, forgot all attention to the 
princes and the people, they remembered that they had 
fome fort of intereft in the trade of the country ; and it is 
matter of curiofity to obferve the protedtion which they 
afforded to this their natural objedt. 

Full of anxious cares on this head, they dire<5t, " that in 
** reducing the polygars they (their fervants) were to be 
<* cautious, not to deprive the weavers and manufaBurers 
<* of the proteflion they often met with in the ilrong holds 
<* of the polygar countries ;" — and they write to their in- 
ftrumenf, the nabob of Arcot, concerning thfefe poor people 
in a moft pathetic ftrain. " We entreat your excellency 
** (fay they) in particular, to make the manufadturers the 
<* object of your tendereji care ; particularly when you 
•* root out the polygars, you do not deprive the weaver's 
** of the profession tbey Enjoyed under them J* When they 
root out the prote<Stors iti favour of the oppreflbr, they 
Ihew themfelves religioufly cautious of the rights of the 
protected. When they extirpate the Ihepherd and the 
Ihepherd's dogs, they" pioufly recommend the helplefs flock 
to the mercy, and even to the tendereji care, of the wolf. 
This is the uniform ftrain of their policy, ftridtly forbid- 
ding, and at the fame time flrenuoufly encouraging and en- 
forcing, every meafure that can ruin and defolate the country 
committed to their charge. After giving the company's 
idea of the government of this their inftmraent, it may ap- 
pear lingular, but it is perfe<5lly conliftent with their fyftem, 
that, befides Nvafting for him, at two different times, the 
moft exquifite fpot upon the earth, Tanjour, and all the 
adjacent countries, they have even voluntarily put their own 
territory, that is, a large and fine country adjacent to 
Madras, called their jaghire, wholly out of their protection ; 
and^have continued to farm their fubjedts, and their duties 

Vol-. II, 3 D towards 



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386 SPEECH ON MR. FOX's 

towards thefe fubjedts, to that very nabob, whom the^r 
themfelvcs conftantly reprefent as an habitual oppreflbr» and 
a rekntlefs tyrant. This they have done without any 
pretence of ignorance of the objed^s of oppreffix>n for which 
this prince has thought fit to become their renter ;• for he 
has again and again told them, that it is for the Ible purpofe 
of cxercifing authority he holds the jaghire lands ; and he 
affirms (and 1 believe with truth) that he. pays more for 
that territory than the revenues yield. This deficiency he 
muft make up from his other territories ; and thus, ia order 
to furnilh the means of opprefling one pa^ oi^api^nastxio, 
he is led to opprefs all the reft. . ., , . 

The houfe perceives that the. livery of the compaD^^s go- 
vernment is uniform. I have defcribed the^ condition of the 
countries indirectly, but moft fubftantially, under the con^-^ 
pany's authority. And now I afk, whether, with this map 
of mifgovernment before me, I can fuppofe myfelf bound 
by my vote to continue, upon aay principles of pretended 
pubhc fakh, the management of thefe countries in thofe 
hands ? If I kept fuch a faith (which, in reality is no 
better than "s^ fides latronum) with what is. called, the comr 
pany, I muft break the faith, the covenant, the folemn, 
original, indifpenfable oath, in which I am bound,, by the 
eternal frame and conftitution of things,, to the. whole hur 
man race^ 

As I have, dwelt fo long on thefe wha are indire(9iy ynder* 
the company's adminiftration, I will endeavour to be a little- 
Ihorter upon the countries immediately under this charter 
government. — Thefe are the Bengal provinces. The conr 
dition of thefe provinces, is pretty fully detailed in the fixth 
and ninth reports,, and imtheir appendixes.- I will feledl only 
fuch principles and inftances as are broad and general. To 
your own- thoughts I Ihall leave it, to furnilh- the detail 

of 



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EAST INDIA BILL. 387 

ot oppreffions involved in them. I (hall flate to yoii, as 
fhortly as I am able, the conduct of the company ;— ift, to- 
wards the landed interefts ; — ^next, the commercial interefts ; 
— S^ly, the native government ;— and laftly, to their own 
government. 

Bengal, and the provinces that are united to it, are larger 
than the kingdom of France ; and once contained, as France 
does contain, a great and independent landed intereft, com- 
pofed of princes, of great lords, of a numerous nobility and 
gentry, of freeholders, of lower tenants, of religious com- 
munities, and public foundations. So early as 1769, the 
company^s fervants perceived the decay into which thefe pro- 
vinces had fallen under Englifli adminiftration, and they 
made a ftrong reprefentation upon this decay, and what 
they apprehended to be the caufes of it. Soon after this 
reprefentation, Mr. Haftings became prelident of Bengal. 
Inftead of adminiftering a remedy to this melancholy dif- 
order, upon the heels of a dreadful famine, in the year 1772, 
the fuccour which the new prefident and the council lent to 
this afflidled nation was— (hall I be believed in relating it ? — 
the landed intereft of a whole kingdom, of a kingdom to be 
compared to France, was fet up to public au(5tion ! They 
fet up (Mr. Haftings fet up) the whole nobility, gentry, 
and freeholders, to the higheft bidder. No preference was 
given to the ancient proprietors. They muft bid againft 
every ufurer, every temporary adventurer, every jobber 
and fchemer, every fervant of every EUiropean, or they 
were obliged to content themfelves, in lieu of their exten-* 
live domains, with their houfe, and fuch a penfion as the 
ftate audlioneers thought fit to affign. In this general 
calamity, feveral of the firft nobility thought (and in 
all appearance juftly) that they had better fubmit to the 
ncceffity of this penfion, than continue, under the name of 

3 D a zemindars. 



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388 SPEECH ON MR. FOX'S 

zemindars, the objecfts^ and inftrunients of a fyfteno, by 
which they ruined their tenants, and were ruined them- 
felves. Another reform has fince come upon the back of 
the firft ; and a penfion having been affigned to thefe un- 
happy perfons, in Heu of their hereditary lands, a new 
fcheme of oeconomy has taken place, and deprived them of 
that penfion. 

The menial fervants of Engliftimen, perfons (to ufe the 
emphatical phrafe of a ruined and patient eaftern chief) 
" wboje fathers they would not have Jet with the dogs of their 
" flock^ entered into their patrimonial lands. Mr. Haftings's 
banian was, after this auction, found poflefled of territories 
yielding a rent of one hundred and forty thoufand pounds a 
year. 

Such an univerfal profcription, upon any pretence, has 
few examples. Such a profcription, without even a pre- 
tence of delinquency, has none« It ftands by itfelf. It 
itands as a monument to aftonifh the imagination, to con- 
found the reafon of mankind. I confefs to you, when I 
firft came to know this bufinefs in its true nature and ex- 
tent, my furprife did a little fufpend my indignation. I was 
in a manner ftupified by the defperate boldnefs of a few 
obfcure young men, who having obtained, by ways which 
they could not comprehend, a power of which they faw nei- 
ther the purpofes nor the limits, tofled about, fabverted, 
and tore to pieces, as if it were in the gambols of a boyifli 
uuluekinefs and malice^ the moft eftablifhed rights^ and the 
moft ancient and moft revered inftitntions, of ages and na- 
tions. Sir, I will not now trouble you with any detail with 
regard to what they have fince done with thefe fame lands 
and land-holders; only to inform you, that nothing has- 
been fufFered to fettle for two feafons together upon any. 
bafis ; and that the. levity and inconft;anGy of thefe mock 

legiflatoi!S 



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EAST INDIA BILL. 389 

legiflators were not the leaft affli<fting parts of the oppref- 
lions fuflfered under their ufurpation ; nor will any thing 
give {lability to the property of the natives, but an adminif- 
tration in England at once proteding and ftable. The 
country fuilains^ almoft every year, the miferies of a revolu- 
tion. At prefent, all is uncertainty, mifery, and confufion* 
There is to be found through thefe vaft regions no longer 
one landed man, who is a refource for voluntary aid, or an 
obje(Sl for particular rapine. Some of them were^ not long 
fince, great princes; they poflefTed treafures, they levied 
armies. There was a zemindar in Bengal (I forget his 
name) that, on the threat of an invafion, fupplied the foubah 
of thefe provinces with the loan of a million fterling. The 
family this day wants credit for a breakfaft at the bazar. 

I Ihall now fay a word or two on the company's care of 
the commercial intereft of thofe kingdoms. As it appears 
in the reports, that perfons in the higheft ftations in Bengal 
have adopted, as a fixed plan of policy, the deftrudtion of all 
intermediate dealers between the company and the manu- 
fadlurer, native merchants have difappeared of courfe. The 
fpoil of the revenues is the fole capital which purchafes the 
produce and manufacStures ; and through three or four 
foreign companies tranfmits the official gains of indivi- 
duals to Europe. No other commerce has an exiftence in 
Bengal. The tranfport of its plunder is the only traffic of 
the country. I wilh to refer you to the appendix to the 
ninth report for a full account of the manner in which the 
company have proted:ed the commercial interefts of their 
dominions in the eaft. 

As to the native government and the adminiftration of 
juftice, it fubfifted in a poor tottering manner for fonae 
years. In the year 178 1, a total revolution took place in 
that eftabliihment. In one of the ufual freaks of legjLilatioa 

of 



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390 SPEECH ON MR. FOX^s 

of the council of Bengal, the whole criminal juiifdidtion of 
thefe courts, called the Phoujdary Judicature, exercifed till 
then by the principal Muffulmen, was in one day, without 
notice, without confultation with the magiftrates or rhe 
people there, and without communication with the direc- 
tors or minifters here, totally fubverted. A new inftitution 
took place, by which this jurifdidtion was divided between 
certain Englifh fervants of the company and the Gentu 
zemindars of the country, the latter of wTiom never peti- 
tioned for it, nor, for ought that appears, ever defired this 
boon. But its natural iife was made of it; it was made a 
pretence for new extortions of money. 

The natives had however one confdlation in the nrin of 
their judicature; tTiey foon faw that it fared no better with 
the Englifti government itfelf. That too, after deftroying 
every other, came to its period. This revolution may well 
be rated for a moft daring a<Sl, even among the extraordi- 
nary things that have been doing in Bengal fince our un- 
happy acquifition of the means of fo much mifchief. 

An eftabliftiment of Englifh government for civil juftice, 
and for the colledlion of revenue, was planned and executed 
by the prelident and council of Bengal, fubjedt to the plea- 
fure of the directors, in the year 1772. According to this 
plan, the country was divided into lix great diftrias, or 
provinces. In ^eacli of thefe was eftablifhed a provincid 
council, which adminiflered the revenue; and of that coun- 
cil one member, by monthly rotation, prefided in the courts 
of civil refbrt ; with an appeal to the council of the pro- 
vince, and thence to Calcutta. In this fyftem (whether, in 
other refpefts^ good or evil) there were fome capital ad- 
vantages. There was in thie very number of perfons in 
each provincial council, authority, communication, mutual 
check, -and controul. Th^y were obliged, on their minutes 
9 of 



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E. A S T INDIA BILL- 391 

of confultation, to enter their reafons and diffents ; fo that a 
man of diligence, of refearch, and tolerable fagacity, fitting 
in London, might, from thefe materials, be enabled to form 
fbme judgment of the fpirit of what was going on on the 
furtheft banks of the Ganges and Burrampiiter. 

Thecourt of direiftors fo far ratified' this eftablifliment, 
(jwhich was confonant enough to their general plan of go- 
vernment) that they gave precife orders, that no alteration 
fliould be made in it, without their confent. So far 
from being apprifed of any defign againft this conftitu- 
tion, they had reafbn to conceive that on trial it had been 
more and more approved by their councir general, at lead 
by the governor general, who had planned it. At the time 
of the revolution,. the council general was nominally in two 
pedbns,. virtually in one. At that time meafures of an ar- 
duous and' critical nature ought to have been forborne, 
even if, to the fullefl: council, this fpecific meafure had not 
been prohibited by the fuperior authority. It was in this 
vei:y fituation,. that. one man had the hardinefs to conceive, 
and the temerity to execute^ a total, revolution in the form: 
and the perfons compofing the government of a great king- 
dom. Without any previous ftep, at one ftroke, the whole 
conftitution of Bengalj civil and criminal^ was fwejDt away. 
The counfellors were recalled from their provinces. Up- 
wards of fifty of the principaroflScers of government were 
turned out of* employ, and rendered dependent on Mr. 
Haftings for their immediate fubfiftence, and for all hope of 
future provifibn.. The chief of each council, and one 
European collecSlor of revenue, was left in each province. 

But here. Sir, you may imagine a new government^ of 
Ibme permanent defcription, was.eftabliflied in the place of 
that which had been thus fuddenly overturned. No fuch 
thing. Left. thefe chiefs without councils flaould be con-- 

ceived * 



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39* SPEECH ON MR. FOX's 

ceived to form the ground plan of fome future government, 
it was publicly declared, that their continuance was only 
temporary and permiflive. The whole fubordinate Britifh 
adminiftration of revenue was then veiled in a committee in 
Calcutta, all creatures of the governor general ; and the pro- 
vincial management, under the permiflive chief, was de- 
livered over to native officers. 

But, that the revolution, and the purpofes of the revolu- 
tion, might be complete, to this committee were delegated, 
not only the fundlions of all the inferior, but, what will 
furprize the houfe, thofe of the fupreme adminiftration of 
revenue alfo. Hitherto the governor general and council 
had, in their revenue department, adminiftered the finances 
of thofe kingdoms. By the new fcheme they are delegated 
to this committee, who are only to report their proceedings 
for. approbation. 

The key to the whole tranfailion is given in one of the 
inftru6lions to the committee, ^* that it is not neceflary that 
^^ they fliould enter diflents.'* By this means the ancient plan 
of the company's adminiftration was deftroyed; but the plan 
of concealment was perfedted. To that moment the ac- 
counts of the revenues were tolerably clear; or at leaft 
means were furniflied for enquiries, by which they might 
be rendered fatisfadlory. In the obfcure and filent gulph 
of this committee every thing is now buried. The thickeft 
iliades of night furround all their tranfadtions. No eflfec- 
tual means of detedling fraud, mifmanagement, or mif- 
reprefentation, exift- The diredtors, who have dared to talk 
with fuch confidence on their revenues, know nothing about 
them.^ What ufed to fill volumes is now comprifed under a 
few dry heads on a flieet of paper. The natives, a people ha- 
bitually made to concealment, are the chief managers of the 
revenue throughout the provinces. I mean by natives, fuch 
a wretches 



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EAST INDIA BILL. 393 

WTetches as your rulers feledt out of them as moft fitted for 
their purpofes. As a proper key-ftone to bind the arch, a 
native, one Gunga Govind Sing, a man turned out of his 
employment by Sir John Clavering, for malverfation in 
office, is made the correfponding fecretary ; and indeed the 
great moving principle of their new board. 

As the whole revenue and civil adminiftration was thus 
fubverted, and a clandefline government fubftituted in the 
place of it, the judicial inftitution underwent a like revolu- 
tion. In 1772 there had been fix courts formed out of the 
fix provincial councils. Eighteen new ones are appointed 
in their place, with each a judge, taken from the junior fer- 
vants of the company. To maintain thefe eighteen courts, 
a tax is levied on the fums in litigation, of 2i per cent, on 
the great, and of 5 per cent, on the lefs. This money is all 
drawn from the provinces to Calcutta. The chief juftice 
(the fame who flays in defiance of a vote of this houfe, and 
of his majefly's recal) is appointed at once the treafurer and 
difpofer of thefe taxes, levied, without any fort of autho- 
rity, from the company, from the crown, or from par- 
liament. 

In effedt. Sir, every legal regular authority in matters of 
revenue, of political adminiflration, of criminal law, of civil 
law, in many of the moft efTential parts of military difcipline, 
is laid level with the ground ; and an oppreffive, irregular, 
capricious, unfleady, rapacious, and peculating defpotifm, 
with a diredt difavowal of obedience to any authority at 
home, and without any fixed maxim, principle, or rule of 
proceeding, to guide them in India, is at preient the ftate of 
your charter-government over great kingdoms. 

As the company has made this ufe of their trufl, I fhould 

ill difcharge mine, if I refufed to give my niofl chearful 

vote for the redrefs of thefe abufes, by putting the affairs of 

Vol. IL 3E fo 



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394 SPEECH ON MR. FOX'S 

fo large and valuable a part of the intercfts of this nation 
and of mankind, into fome fteady hands, pofiefling the 
confidence, and aflured of the fupport of this houfe, until 
they can be reftored to regularity, order, and confiftency. 

I have touched the heads of fome of the grievances of 
the people, and the abufes of government. But I hope and 
truft, you will give me credit, when 1 faithfully alTure you, 
that I have not mentioned one fourth part of what has 
come to my knowledge in your committee ; and further, I 
have full reafon to believe, that not one fourth part of the 
abufes are come to my knowledge, by that or by any other 
means. Pray confider what I have faid only as an index to 
direft you in your enquiries. 

If this then. Sir, has been the ufe made of the truft of po- 
litical powers internal and external, given by you in the 
charter, the next thing to be fcen is the conduct of the 
company with regard to the commercial truft. And here I 
will make a fair oiFer : — If it can be proved that they have 
acSted wifely, prudently, and frugally, as merchants, I ftiall 
pafs by the whole mafs of their enormities as ftatefnwn. 
That they have not done this their prefent condition is 
proof fufficient. Their diftrefles are faid to be owing to 
their wars. This is not wholly true. But if it were, is not 
that readinefs to engage in wars which diftinguifties them, 
and for which the committee of fecrecy has fo branded their 
politics, founded on the falfeft principles of mercantile 
fpeculation ? 

The principle of buying cheap and felling dear is the firft, 
the great foundation of mercantile dealing. Have they ever 
attended to this principle? Nay, for years have they not 
adlually authorized in their fcrvants a total indifference as to 
the prices they were to pay ? 

A great deal of ftri<5lnefs in driving bargains for whatever 

we 



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.EAST INDIA BILL- 395 

we contra^ is another of the principles of mercantile policy. 
Try the company by that teft ! Look at the contra6ts that 
are made for then?. Is the company fb much as a good 
commiffary to their own arniies ? I engage to felcdl for you, 
out of tl^ innumerable mafs of their dealings, all conduced 
very nearly alike, one contradl only, the exceffive profits on 
which during a ftiort term would pay the whole of their 
year's dividend. I fliall undertake to fliew, that upon two 
others, that the inordinate profits given, with the lofles in- 
curred in order to fecure thofc promts, would pay a year's 
dividend more. 

It is a third property of tr^diog lyien, to fee that their 
clerks do uot divert the d^ealings of tiie mafter to their own 
benefit. It was the pth^r day only, when their governor 
and council taxed the company's inveftment with a fum of 
fifty tboufand pounds, as an inducement to perfuade only 
feven CQeflibers.of their board of trade to give their homur 
that they would abftain from fuch profit? upon that inveft- 
ment as they muft have violated their oatbs if they had 
made at all. 

It is a fourth quality of a merchant to be exa<St in his 
accounts. What will be thought, when you have fully be- 
fore you the mode of accounting made ufe of in the tre^^fviry 
of Bengal ?— I hope you will have it foon. With regard to 
one of their agencies, when it came to the material part, 
the prime eoft of the goods on which a commiflion of fif- 
teen p£r cent, was allpwed, to the aftonifliment of the fa<5lory 
to whom the comnaodities were fent,:the accountant general 
reports that he did not think himfelf authorized to call for 
vouchers relative to thi^ and other particulars, — beca\ife the 
agent was upon his honour with regard to rhem. A new 
principle of account upon honour feen^s to be regularly. 
eftahUflied in their dealings and their treafury, which in 

3 E 2 reality 



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396 SPEECH ON MR. FOX'^s 

reality amounts to an entire annihilation of the principle of 
all accounts. 

It is a fifth property of a merchant, who does not medi- 
tate a fraudulent bankruptcy, to calculate his probable 
profits upon the money he takes up to veft in bufinefs. Did 
the company, when they bought goods cm bonds bearing 8 
per cent, intereft, at ten and even twenty per cent, difcount, 
even afk themfelves a queftion concerning the poflibility of 
advantage from dealing on thefe terms? 

The laft quality of a merchant I fhall advert to, is the 
taking care to be properly prepared, in caih or goods, in the 
ordinary courfe of fale, for the bills which are drawn on 
them. Now I alk, whether they have ever calculated the 
clear produce of any given fales, to make them tally with 
the four million of bills which are come and coming upon 
them, fo as at the proper periods to enable the one to liqui- 
date the other ? No, they have not. They are now obliged 
to borrow money of their own fervants to purchafe their 
inveftment. The fervants ftipulate five per cent, on the 
capital they advance, if their bills fhould not be paid at the 
time when they become due ; and the value of the rupee 
on which they charge this intereft is taken at two fhillings 
and a penny. Has the company ever troubled themfelves 
to enquire whether their fales can bear the payment of that 
intereft, and at that rate of exchange? Have they once con- 
fidered the dilemma in which they are placed — the ruin of 
their credit in the Eaft Indies, if they refufe the bills — the 
ruin of their credit and exiftence in England, if they accept 
them ? Indeed no trace of equitable government is found 
in their politics ; not one trace of commercial principle in 
their mercantile dealing; and hence is the deej^eft and 
matureft wifdom of parliament demanded, and the beft re- 
fources of this kingdom muft be ftrained, to reftore them ; 
2 that 



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EAST INDIA BILL. 397 

that is, to reftore the countries deftroyed by the mifcondudt 
of the company, and to reftore the company itfelf, ruined 
by the confequences of their plans for deftroying what they 
were bound to preferve. 

I required, if you remember, at my outfet, a proof that 
thefe abufes were habitual. But furely this it is not neceflary 
for me to confider as a feparate head ; becaufe I truft I have 
made it evident beyond a doubt, in confidering the abufes 
themfelves, that they are regular, permanent, and fyftemati- 
cal. 

I am now come to my laft condition, without which, for 
one, I will never readily lend my hand to the deftrudlion of 
any eftablilhed government ; which is. That in its prefent 
ftate, the government of the Eaft India company is absolutely 
incorrigible. 

Of this great truth I think there can be little doubt, after 
all that has appeared in this houfe. It is fo very clear, that 
I muft confider the leaving any power in their hands, and 
the determined refolution to continue and countenance 
every mode and every degree of peculation, oppreflion, and 
tyranny, to be one and the fame thing. I look upon that 
body incorrigible, from the fulleft confideration both of their 
uniform conduct, and their prefent real and virtual confti- 
tution. 

If they had not conftantly been apprized of all the enor- 
mities committed in India under their authority ; if this 
ftate of things had been as much a difcovery to them as it 
was to many of us ; we might flatter ourfelves that the 
dete6tion of the abufes would lead to their reformation* I 
will go further: If the court, of directors had not uni- 
formly condemned every a<St which this houfe or any of its 
committees had condemned ; if the language in which they 
expreffed their difapprobatlon againft enormities and their 

authors 



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398 SPEECH ON MR. FOX's 

authors had not been much 'more vehement and indignant 
til an any ever ufed in this houfe, I fliould entertain fome 
hopes. If they had not, on the other hand, as uniformly 
commended all their fervants.who had done their duty and 
obeyed their orders, as they had heavily cenfured thofe who 
rebelled ; I might fay, Thefe people have been in an error, 
and when they are fejifible of it they will mend. But when 
I reflect on the uniformity of their fupport to the objects of 
tlieir uniform cenfure ; and the ftate of infignificance and 
dilgrace to which all of thofe have been reduced whom they 
approved; and that even utter ruin and premature death 
have been among the fruits of their favour ; I muft be con- 
vinced, that in this cafe, as in all others, hypcorify is the only 
vice that never can be cured. 

Attend, I pray you, to the iituation and profperity of 
Benfield, Haftings, and others of that fort. The laft of 
thefe has been treated by the company with an afperity of 
reprehenlion that has no parallel. They lament, ^^ that the 
*^ power of difpofing of their property for perpetuity, fliould 
^^ fall into fuch hands." Yet for fourteen years, with little in- 
terruption, he has governed all their affairs, of every defcrip- 
tion, with an abfolute fway. He has had himfelf the means 
of heaping up immenfe wealth; and, dimng that whole pe- 
riod, the fortunes of hundreds have depended on his fiaailes 
and frowns. He himfelf tells you he is incumbered with two 
hundred and fifty young gentlemen, fome of them of the beft 
families in England, all of whom aim at returning with yaft 
fortunes to Europe in the prime of life. He has then two hun- 
dred and fi^'ty of your children as his hoftages for your good 
behaviour ; and loaded for years, as he has been, with the 
execrations of the natives, with the cenfures of the court of 
directors, and flruck and blafted with refolutions of this 
houfe, he ftill maintains the moil defpotic power ever 
3 known 



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EAST INDIA BILL. 399 

known in India. He domineers with an overbearing fway 
in the aflemblies of his pretended mailers; and it is thought 
in a degree ralh to venture to name his oflfences in this houfe, 
even as grounds of a legiflative remedy. 

On the other hand, conlider the fate of thofe who have 
met with the applaufes of the dire<Stors. Colonel Monfon, 
one of the beft of men, had his days fliortened by the ap- 
plaufes, deftitute of the fupport, of the company. General 
Clavering, whole panegyric was made in every diipatch 
from England, whofe hearfe was bedewed with the tears, 
and hung round with eulogies of the court of dirediors, 
burfl an honeft and indignant heart at the treachery of thofe 
who ruined him by their praifes. Uncommon patience and 
temper, fupported Mr. Francis a while longer under the bane- 
ful influence of the commendation of the court of directors. 
His health however gave way at length ; and, in utter de- 
fpair he returned to Europe. At his return the doors of the 
India Houfe were fhut to this man, who had been the objedl 
of their conftant admiration. He has indeed efcaped with life, 
but he has forfeited all expeftation of credit, confequence, 
psirty, and foDowing. He may well fay. Me nemo minijira 
fur erity atque ideo nuUi comes exeo. This man, whofe deep 
reach of thought, whofe large legiflative conceptions, and 
whofe gr^nd plans of policy, make the moft ftiining part of 
our reports, from whence we have all learned our leflbns, if 
we have learned any good ones; this man, from whofe 
materials thofe gentlemen who have lead acknowledged it 
have yet fpoken as from a brief ; this man, driven from his 
employment, difcountenanced by the dire<£tors, has had no 
other reward, and no other diftindtion, but that inward 
** funfliine of the foul" which a good confcience can always 
beftow upon itfelf. He has not yet had fo much as a good 
word, but from a perfon too infignificant to make any other 

return 



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40O SPEECH ON MR. FOX's 

return for the means with which he has been furnilhed 
for performing his fliare of a duty which is equally urgent 
on us all. 

Add to this, that from the higheft in place to the loweft, 
every Britifli fubjedt, who, in obedience to the company's 
orders, has been adtive in the difcovery of peculations, has 
been ruinei. They have been driven from India. When 
they made their appeal at home they were not heard; when 
they attempted to return they were flopped. No artifice of 
fraud, no violence of power, has been omitted, to deftroy 
them in charadler as well as in fortune. 

Worfe, far worfe, has been the fate of the poor creatures, 
the natives of India, whom the hypocrify of the company 
has betrayed into complaint of oppreffion, and difcovery 
of peculation. The firft woman in Bengal, the ranni of 
Rajefhahi, the ranni of Burdwan, the ranni of Amboa, by 
their weak and thoughtlefs truft in the company's honour 
and protedion, are utterly ruined : the firft of thefe worrien, 
a perfon of princely rank, and once of correfpondent fortune, 
w^ho paid above two hundred thoufand a year quit-rent to the 
Hate, is, according to very credible information, fo completely 
beggared as to ftand in need of the relief of alms. Mahomed 
Reza Khin, the fecond Muffulman in Bengal, for having been 
diftinguifhed by the ill-omened honour of the countenance 
^nd prote6tion of the court of dire6tors, was, without the 
pretence of any enquiry whatfoever into his conduct, ftripped 
of all his employments, and reduced to the loweft condition. 
His ancient rival for power, the rajah Nundcomar, was, by 
an infult on every thing which India holds refpedtable and 
facred, hanged in the face of all his nation, by the judges 
you fent to protedt that people ; hanged for a pretended 
crime, upon an ex pojl fa£io Britifh a(St of parliament, in the 
Hxidft of his evidence agajnft Mr. Haftings. The accufer 

they 



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EAST INDIA BILL. 4<Jt 

they faw lianged. The culprit, without atquittal of en- 
quiry, triumphs on the ground of that murder ; a murdef 
not of Nundcomar only, but of all living teftimonyj ihd 
even of evidence yjct unborn. From that time not a com- 
plaint has been heard from the natives againft their go- 
vernors. All the grievances of India have found a com- 
plete remedy. 

Men will not look to a6ts of parliament, td regulations, to 
declarations, to votes, and refolutions. No, they are not 
fuch fools. They will afk, what is the road to pdWer, 
credit, wealth, and honours > They will afk, what conduffc 
ends in negleft, difgrace, poverty, exile, prifon, and gibbet ? 
Thefe will teach them the courfe which they are to follow. 
It is your diftribution of thefe that will give the charadber 
and tone to youi: government. All the reft is miftrable 
grimace. 

When I accufe the court of dire<Stors of this habitual trea- 
chery, in the ufe of reward and punifliment, I do not mean to 
include all the individuals in that court. There have been, 
Sir, very frequently, men of the greateft integrity and virtue 
amongfk them ; and the contrariety in the declarations knd 
condu(5t of that court has arifen, I take it, from this : — That 
the honeft dire<5tors have, by the force of matter of fddV 
on the records, carried the reprobation of the evil meafures 
of the fervants in India. This could not be prevented, 
whilft thefe records ftared them in the face ; nor were the 
delinquents, either here or there, very folicitous about thfeit 
reputation, as long as they were able to fecure their power: 
Yhe agreement of their partizans to cenfure them, blunted 
for a while the edge of a fevere proceeding. It obtained for 
them a character of impartiality, which enabled them to 
recommend, with fome fort of grace, what will always carry 
a plaufible appearance, thofe treacherous expedients, called 

Vol. II. 3 F moderate 



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404 SPEECH ON MR. FOX's 

moderate raeafures. Whilft thefe were imder difcuffioDy new 
matter of complaint came over, which feemed to antiquate 
the firft. The fame circle was here trod round once more;; 
and thus through years they proceeded in a compromife of 
cenfure for punifliment ; until) hy ihame and defpair, one 
after another, almoft every man, who preferred his duty to 
the company to the interefts of their fervants, has been, 
driven from that court. 

This, Sir, has been their condu<5l ; and it has been the 
Tefult of the alteration which was infenflbly made in their 
conftitution. The change was made infenfibly ; but it is 
now ftrong and adult, and as public and declared, as it is 
fixed beyond all power of reformation. So that there is- 
none who hears me, that is not as certain as I am» that the 
company, in the fenfe in which it was formerly underilood,. 
has no exiftence. The queftion is not, what injury you 
may do to the proprietors of India ftock ; for there are no 
fuch men to be injured. If the aftive ruling part of the 
company who form the general court,, who fill the offi.ces, 
and dire<5t the meafures (the reft tell for nothing) were 
perfons who held^ their ftock as a means of their fub- 
fiftence, who in the part they took were only concerned in 
the government of India, for the rife or fall of their divi- 
dend, it would be indeed a defe(Stive plan of policy. The 
intereft of the people who are governed by them would not 
be their primary obje<St; perhaps a very fmall part of their 
confideration at all. But then they might weU be depended 
on, and perhaps more than perfons in other refpeds pre- 
ferable, for preventing the peculations of their fervants to 
their own prejudice. Such a body would not eafily have 
left their trade as a fpoil to the avarice of thofe who re- 
ceived their wages. But now things are totally reverfed. 
The ftock is of no value, whether it be the qualifigation of a 

director 



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EAST INDIA BILL. 403 

dire<aor or proprietor ; and it is impoflible that it Ihould. 
A diredlor's qualification may be worth about two thoufand 
five hundred pounds— and the intereft, at eight per cent, is 
about one hundred and fixty pounds a year. Of what 
value is that, whether it rife to ten, or fall to fix, or to 
nothing, to him whofe fpn, before he is in Bengal two 
months, and before he defcends the fteps of the council 
chamber, fells the grant of a fingle contraft for forty thou- 
fand pounds ? Accordingly the ftock is bought up in quali- 
fications. The vote is not to protect the ftock, but the 
ftock is bought to acquire the vote ; and the end of the vote 
is to cover and fupport, againft juftice, fbme man of power 
who has made an obnoxious fortune in India ; or to main- 
tain in power thofe who are a6tually employing it in the 
acquifition of fuch a fortune; and to avail themfelves in 
return of his patronage, that he may ftiower the fpoils of 
the eaft, " barbaric pearl and gold," on them, their families, 
and dependents. So that all the relations of the company 
are not only changed, but inverted. The fervants in India 
are not appointed by the diredlors, but the directors are 
chofen by them. The trade is carried on with their capi- 
tals. To them the revenues of the country are mortgaged. 
The feat of the fupreme power is in Calcutta. The houfe 
in Leadenhall Street is nothing more than a change for 
their agents, factors, and deputies to meet in, to take care 
of their afiiiirs, and fupport their interefts ; and this fo 
avowedly, that we fee the known agents of the delinquent 
fervants marlhalling and difciplining their forces, and the 
prime fpokefmen in all their affemblies. 

Every thing has followed in this order, and according to 
the natural train of events. I will clofe what I have to fay 
on the incorrigible condition of the company, by ftating to 
yoii a few fa<Sts, that will leave no doubt of the obftinacy^ 

3 F 2 of 



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404 SPEECH Ol^ MR. FpX'8 

of tl^at corporation, and of theiir ftreagth too^ ki r^fifting 
the reformation of their fervants. By th^fe fa<Sks you wUl 
be enabled to difcover the fole groiuids upon virhich they 
are tenacious of their charter. It ia now mpre than two 
years that, upon accovmt of the grofs abufes and ruinous 
litviKition of the company's affairs, (which occafioned tjie cry 
of the whole world long before it was taken up here) that 
we inftituted two committees to. enquire into the mifma^ 
nagements by which the company's afiairs had been 
brought to the brink of ruiq. Thefe enquiries had been 
purfued with unremitting diligence; ^d. a, great body of 
faf^ wa$ coile<5ted and printed for general information. In 
tjie refult of thof© enquiries, al^hpugh the committee* con- 
lifted of very different defcriptions, they were unanimous.. 
They joined in cenfuring the condu£lof the Indian admi- 
niftration, and enforcing the refponfibiljty upon two.men,i 
whom this houfe, ia. confequence of thpfe repprta, declared, 
it to b^ the duty of the dirciStprs. ta remove from their 
ftaiions,, and recaj to Great Britain, *^ bscaufe ibsy b&d 
** a&ed in a manner ref>ugnani to the honour and. policy of 
« this natioT}^ and thereby, brought great calamities on fndioy 
<* and enormous, expenses an the Eqft. India copipany^ 

Here was no attempt on the, charter.. . H^re was no» 
queftion of their privileges. To vindicate thieijr own, ho 
nour, to fupport their own interefts, to enforce obedience 
to their own orders ; thefe were the fole obge<St of the mo- 
nitory cefolution of this houfe. But as- foon as the general: 
court; could, a^emble, they affe^xblpd to denaonftrat^ who< 
they re^ly were. Regardlefs of the proceedings^ of this- 
houfei they ordered the directors not to carry, into efffedl 
any refolution they might come to for the removal of Mr.. 
Haftings wad Mr. Hornby. The dire<Stoi;s> ftill, retaining 
£Qme Ihadow of reipe<^.tp this houfe, iniHtut^d^a enquiry 
a . themfel\ces„ 



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BAST INDIA B I L L^ 405 

tbemfelves^ which continued from June to Odlober; and 
after an attentive perufal and fuU coniideration of papers,, 
refolved to take fteps for removuig the perfons who had 
been the objeiSts of our refolution ; but not without a vio- 
lent ftruggle againft evidence. Seven directors went £0 far 
as to enter a proteft againft the vote of their court. Upon 
this the general court takes the alarm ; it re-affembles ; it 
orders the direcStors to refcind their refolution, that is, not to 
recal Mr. Haftings and Mr. Hornby, and to defpife the refolu- 
tjon of the houfe of commons,. Without fo much as the pre- 
tence pf lo.oking kito a flngle paper, without the formality 
ef in^uting any committee of enquiry, they fuperfeded all 
the lajtours of their owa dire<Stors, and of this houfew. 

It will naturally occur to aik, how it was poiiible that they 
fbouid not attem^pt fbmeiort of examination into fadts, as a 
colour for their refiilaace to a public authority, proceedings 
fo Visry deliberately ; and exerted, apparently at leaft, in fa- 
vour of their own? The anfwer, and the only anfwer 
whiich can be given, is, that they were afraid that their 
true relation Ihould be miftaken. They were afraid that 
their patrons and mafters in India ihould attribute their 
fuppott of them, to an opinion of their caufe, and not to» 
an attachment to their power. They were afraid it ihould 
be fulpe^tcdj^ that they did not mean blindly to fupport 
them in the ufe they made of that power. They deter- 
mined to- Ihew that they at leaft were £et againft reforma- 
tion ;. that they were firmly refolved to bring the territories,, 
the trade, and the ft»ck of the company, to ruin, rather 
than be wanting in fidelity to their nominal fervants and 
leal mafters, in the ways they took to their private for- 
tunes.. 

Even fince the beginning of this feflSon, the fame a<St of 
audacity was repeated, with the fame circumftances of con- 
tempt 



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4o6 SPEECH ON MR. FOX's 

tempt of all the deconim of enquiry, on their part, aiid of 
all the proceedings of this houfe. They again made it a 
rcqueft to their favourite, and your culptit, to keep his 
poft ; and thanked and applauded him, without calling for 
a paper which could afford light into the merit or demerit 
of the tranfaiStion, and without giving themfelves a mo- 
ment's time to oonfider, or even to underftand, the articles 
of the Maratta peace. The fa<5t is, that for a long time 
there was a ftruggle, a faint one indeed, between the com- 
pany and their fervants. But it is a ftruggle no longer. 
For fome time the fuperiority has been decided. The in- 
terefts abroad are become the fettled preponderating weight 
both in the court of proprietors, and the court of dire^x>rs.» 
Even the attempt you have made to enquire into their 
practices and to reform abufes, has raifed and piqued them 
to a far more regular and fteady fupport. The a>mpany 
has made a common caufe, and identified themfelves, with 
the deftroyers of India. They have taken on themfelves all 
that mafs of enormity; they are fupporting what you 
have reprobated ; thoie you condemn they apfdaud ; thofe 
you order home to anfwer for their condu<^, they requefl to 
ftay, and thereby encourage to proceed in their praAices. 
Thus the fervants of the Eaft India company triumph, 
and the reprefentatives of the people of Great Britain are 
defeated. 

I therefore conclude, what you all conclude, that this 
body, being totally perverted from the purpofes of its infti- 
tution, is utterly incorrigible ; and becaufe they are incor- 
rigible, both in conduit and conftitution, power ought to 
be taken out of their hands ; juft on the fame principles on 
which have been made all the juft changes and revolutions 
of government that have taken place (ince the beginning of 
the world. 

I win 



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^AST INDIA BILL. 407 

I will now fay a few words to the general principle of the 
plan which is fet up againil that of my right honourable 
£iend. It is to re-commit the government of India to the 
court of direiStors. Thofe who would commit the reformation 
of India to the deftroyers of it, are the enemies to that 
Tefonuation. They would make a diitindtion between direc- 
tors and proprietors, which, in the prefent flate of things, 
does not, cannot exiit. But a right honourable gentleman 
fays, he would keep the prefent government of India in the 
court of direiStors ; and would, to curb them, provide falu- 
. tary regulations ; — wonderful ! That is, he would appoint 
the old offenders to corre<St the old offences ; and he would 
render the vicious and the foolifh wife and virtuous, by 
falutary regulations. He would appoint the wolf as guardian 
of the fheep ; but he has invented a curious muzzle, by 
which this protedling wolf ihall not be able to open his 
jaws above an inch or two at the utmoft. Thus his work is 
finiihed. But I tell the right honourable gentleman, that 
controuled depravity is not innocence ; and that it is not the 
labour of delinquency in chains, that will correct abufes; 
Will thefe gentlemen of the direction animadvert on the 
partners of their own guilt ? Never did a ferious plan of 
amending of any old tyrannical eftablifhment propofe the 
authors and abettors of the abufes as the reformers of them. 
If the undone people of India fee their old oppreflR>rs in 
confirmed power, even by the reformation, they will expedt 
nothing but what they will certainly feel, a continuance, or 
rather an aggravation, of all their former fufferings. They 
look to the feat of power, and to the perfons who fill it; and 
they defpife thofe gentlemen's regulations as much as the 
gentlemen do who talk of them. 

But there is a cure for every thing. Take away, fay 
they, the court of proprietors, and the court of dire<5tors 

will 



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4o8. SPEECH ON MR. FOX'i 

will do their duty. Yes; as they have done it hitherto. 
That the evils in India have folely arifen from the court of 
proprietors, is grofsly falfe. In many of theoi, the dire^tcnrs 
were heartily concurring; in moft of them they were 
encouraging, andfometimes commanding ; in all they were 
conniving. 

But who are to choofe this well-regulated and refonnlng 
court of directors? — Why, the very proprietors Who are 
excluded from all management, for the abufe of their power. 
They will choofe, undoubtedly, out of themfelves, men like 
themfelves; and thofe who are moft forward in reflfting 
your authority, thofe who are moft engaged in fa<^icMi or 
intereft with the delinquents abroad, will be the obj8£ts of 
their fele^tion. But gentlemen fay, that when this choice 
is made, the proprietors are not to interfere in the meafures 
of the direAors, whilft thofe diredtors are bufy in the con- 
trol of their common patrons and mafters in India. No^ 
indeed, I believe they will not defire to interfere. They 
will choofe thofe whom they know may be trufted, fafely 
trufted, to a<5t in ftriA conformity to their common prin- 
ciples, manners, meafures, interefts, and connections. They 
will want neither monitor nor control. It is not eafy to 
choofe men to a<5t in conformity to a public intereft againft 
their private : but a fure dependance may be had on thofe 
who are chofen to forward their private intereft, at the 
expcnce of the public. But if the dire(Stors fliould flip, 
and deviate into rectitude, the punifhment is in the hands 
of the general court, and it will furely be remembered to 
them at their next eledtion. 

If the government of India wants no refprmation ; but 
gentlemen are amufing themfelves with a theory, cour 
ceiving a more democratic or ariltocratic mode of govern- 
ment for thefe dependancfes, or if they are in a difptite 

only 



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EAST INDIA BILL- 409 

onljr about patronage; the difpute is witji me of fo little 
cx)ncern9 that I fliould not take the pains to utter an afErmai- 
tive or negative to any propofition in it. If it be only for 
a theoretical amufement that they are to propofe a bill ; the 
thing is at beft frivolous and unneceflary. But if the com- 
pany's government is not only full of abufe^ but is one of 
the moft corrupt and deftrudtive tyrannies, that probably 
ever cxifted in the world (as I am fure it is) what a cruel 
mockery would it be in me, and in thofe who think like 
me, to propofe this kind of remedy for this kind of evil ! 

I now come to the third objection. That this bill will in- 
creafe the influence of the crown. An honovirable gentle- 
man has demanded of me, whether I was in earneft when I 
propofed to this houfe a plan for .the reduction of that in- 
fluence. Indeed^ Sir, I was much, very much, in earneft. 
My heart was deeply xjoncerned in it; and 1 hope the public 
lias not loft the effect of ; it. How far my judgment was 
xighty for what concerned perfonal favour and confequence 
to myfelf, I fliall not prefume to determine ; nor is its effect 
upon me of any moment. But as to this bill, whether it 
encreafes the influence of the crown, or not, is a queftion I 
fliould be alhamed to afk. If I am not able to correcSl a 
.fyftem of oppreffion and tyranny, that goes to the utter 
ruin of thirty millions of my fellow-creatures and fellow- 
fubjcdls, but by fome increafe to the influence of the 
crown, I am ready here to declare, that I,* who have been 
adlive to reduce it, fliall be at leaft as adtive and ftrenuous 
to reflore it again. I am no lover of names ; I contend for 
the fubftance of good and protedling government, let it 
come from what quarter it will. 

But I am not. obliged to have recourfe to this expedient. 
Much, very much the contrary. I am fure that the in- 
fluence of the crown will by no means aid a reformation of 

Vol. II. 3 G this 



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416 SPEECH ON MR. P'oX's 

this kind ; which can neither be originated nor fupported, 
but by the uncorrupt public virtue of the reprefentatives of 
the people of England. Let it once get into the ordinary 
courfe of adminiftration, and to me all hopes of reformation 
are gone. I am far from knowing or believing, that this 
bill will encreafe the influence of the crown. We all know, 
that the crown has ever had fonje influence in the court of 
directors; and that it has been extremely encreafed by 
the adts of 1773 and 1780. The gentlemen who, as part of 
their reformation, propofe *^ a more aftive controul on the 
^^ part of the crown,** which is to put the directors under a 
fecretary of ftate, fpecially named for that piirpofe, muft 
know, that their project will increafe it further. * But that 
old influence has had, and the new will have, incurable 
inconveniences, which cannot happen under the parliamen- 
tary eftablilhment propofed in this bill. * An honourable 
gentleman not now in his place, but who is well acquainted 
with the India company, and by no means a friend to this 
bill, has told you that a minifterial influence has always 
been predominant in that body; and that to make the 
diredlors pliant to their purpofes, minifters generally caufed 
perfons meanly qualified to be chofen directors. According 
to his idea, to fecure fubferviency, they fubmitted the com- 
pany's affairs to the diredtion of incapacity. This was to 
ruin the company, in order to govern it. This was cer- 
tainly influence in the very worft form in which it could 
appear. At bed it was clandeftine and irrefponfible. 
Whether this was done fo much upon fyftem as that gen- 
tleman fuppofes, I greatly doubt. But fuch in effedt: the 
operation of government on that court unqueltionably was ; 
and fuch, under a fimilar conftitution, it will be for ever. 
Minifters muft be wholly removed from the management 

* Governor Johnflonc. 

of 



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EAST I N D I A B I L L. 411 

of the affairs of India, or they will have an influence in its 
patronage. The thing is inevitable. Their fcheme of a 
new fecretary of ftate, ** with a more vigorous control," is 
not much better than a repetition of the meafure which we 
know by experience will not do. Since the year 1773 and 
the year 1780, the company has been under the control of 
the fecretary of ftate*s ofiice, and we had then three fecreta- 
ries of ftate. If more than this is done, then they annihi- 
late the dire<Stion which they pretend to fupport ; and they 
augment the influence of the crown, of whofe growth they 
affciSt fo great an horror. But in truth this fcheme of re- 
conciling a direction really and truly deliberative, with an 
office really and fubftantially controlling, is a fort of ma- 
chinery that can be kept in order but a very fliort time. 
Either the dire<Stors will dwindle into clerks, or the fe- 
cretary of ftate, as hitherto has been the courfe, will leave 
every thing to them, often through defign, often through 
negle<St. If both ihould affect activity, collifion, procrafti- 
nation, delay, and in the end, utter confufion muft enfue. 

But, Sir, there is one kind of influence far greater than 
that of the nomination to ofiice. This gentlemen in oppo- 
iition have totally overlooked, although it now exifts in its 
full vigour ; and it will do fo, upon their fcheme, in at leaft 
as much force as it does now. That influence this bill 
cuts up by the roots ; I mean the influence of proteStion. I 
ihall explain myfelf : — The office given to a young man 
going to India is of trifling confequence. But he that 
goes out an infignificant boy, in a few years returns a 
great nabob. Mr. Haftings fays he has two hundred and 
fifty of that kind of raw materials, who expe<Sl to be 
fpeedily manufadtured into the merchantable quality I 
mention. One of thefe gentlemen, fuppofe, returns hither, 
loaded with odium and with riches. When he comes to 

3 G 2 England 



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4ta -SPEECH ON MR. FOX'« 

England he comes as to a prifon or as to a fan(5tuary ; and 
either are ready for him, according to his demeanor. 
What is the influence in the grant of any place in India, to 
that which is acquired by the prote<5tion or compromife 
with fuch guilt, and with the command of fuch riches, under 
the dominion of the hopes and fears which power is able to 
hold out to every man in that condition ? That man*s whole 
fortune, half a million perhaps, becomes an inftrument 
of influence, without a Ihilling of charge to the civil lift ;. 
and the influx of fortunes which ftand in need of this pro- 
tection is continual. It works both ways ; it influences the 
delinquent, and it may corrupt the minifter. Compare the 
influence acquired by appointing for inftance even a go- 
vernor general, and that obtained by protecting him. 1 
ihall pufli this no further. But I wilh gentlemen to roll it 
a little in their own minds. 

The bill before you cuts off* this fource of influence. Its 
delign and main fcope is to regulate the adminiftration of 
India upon the principles of a court of judicature ; and to 
exclude, as far as human prudence can exclude, all poflibi- 
lity of a corrupt partiality, in appointing to office or fup- 
porting in office, or covering from enquiry and punishment,- 
any perfon who has abufed or ftiall abufe his authority. 
At the board, as appointed and regulated by this biU, re- 
ward and punifliment cannot be fliii&ed and reverfed by a 
whifper. That commiffion becomes fatal to cabal^ to in-- 
trigue, and to fecret r^refentation, thofe inftruments of the 
ruin of India. He that cuts oflf" the means of premature 
fortune, and the power of protecting it when acquired,, 
ftrikes a deadly blow at the great fund, the bank, the 
capital ftock of Indian influence, which cannot be vetted 
any where, or in any hands, without moft dangerous confe- 
quences to the public^ 

The 



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EAST INDIA BILL. 413 

The third and contradidlory objection, is, That this bill 
does not increafe the influence of the crown. On the con- 
traryy That the jnft power of the crown will be leflened, 
and transferred to the ufe of a party, by giving the patron- 
age of India to a commiflion nominated by parliament, and 
independent of the crown. The contradi(^ion is glaring, 
and it has been too well expofed to make it necefTary for 
me to inlift upon it. But pafling the contradidtion, and 
taking it without any relation, of all objedlions that is the 
moft extraordinary. Do not gentlemen know, that the 
erown has not at prefent the grant of a fingle office under 
the compaay, civil or military, at home or abroad ? So far 
as the crown is concerned, it is certainly rather a gainer ; 
for the vacant offices in the new eommiffion are to be filled 
tip by the king. 

It is argued as a part of the bill, derogatory to the prero- 
gatives of the crown, that the commiffioners named in the 
bill are to continue for a fhort term of years (too fliort in 
my opinion) and becaufe,. during that time, they are not at 
the mercy of every predominant faction of the court. Does 
not this objection lie againft the prefent directors ; none of 
whom are named by the crown, and a proportion of whom 
hold for this very term of four years ? Did it not lie againft 
the governor general and council named in the adt of 1773: 
— who were invefted by name, as the prefent commiffioners^ 
are to be appointed in the body of the a6l of parliament,, 
who were to hold their places for a term of years, and were 
not removable at the difcretion of the crown ? Did it not 
lie againft the re-appointment, in the year 1780, upon the 
very fame terms? Yet at none of thefe times, whatever 
other objedlions the fcheme might be liable to, was it fup- 
pofed to be a derogation to the jnft prerogative of the 
crown,, that a eommiffion created by a6l of parliament 

ihould! 



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414 SPEECH ON MR. FOX's 

Ihould have its members named by the authority which 
called it into exiftence ? This is not the difpofal by parlia- 
ment of any office derived from the authority of the crown, 
or now difpofable by that authority. It is fo far from be- 
ing any thing new, violent, or alarming, that I do not 
recolledl, in any parliamentary commiffion, down to the 
commiffioners of the land tax, that it has ever been other- 
wife. 

The objecSlion of the tenure for four years is an objedlion 
to all places that are not held during pleafure ; but in that 
objection I pronounce the gentlemen, from my knowledge 
of their complexion and of their principles, to be perfectly 
in earneft. The party (fay thefe gentlemen) of the minifter 
who propofes this fcheme will be rendered powerful by it; 
for he will name his party friends to the commiffion. This 
objedlion againft party is a party objedlion; and in this too 
thefe gentlemen are perfe<5lly ferious. They fee that if, by 
any intrigue, they fliould fucceed to office, they will lofe 
the c/ande/iine p^tronzgey the true inftrument of clandeftine 
influence, enjoyed in the name of fubfervient dire(Stors, and 
of wealthy trembling Indian delinquents. But as often as they 
are beaten off this ground, they return to it again. The 
minifter will name his friends, and perfons of his own party. 
— Who fliould he name? Should he name his adverfaries? 
Should he name thofe whom he cannot truft ? Should he 
name thofe to execute his plans, who are the declared enemies 
to the principles of his reform ? His charadler is here at flake. 
If he propofes for his own ends (but he never will propofe) 
fuch names as, from their want of rank, fortune, charaiSter, 
ability, or knowledge, are likely to betray or to fall fhort of 
their truft, he is in an independent houfe of commons ; in an 
houfe of commons which has, by its own virtue, deftroyed 
the inftruments of parliamentary fubfervience. This houfe 

of 



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EAST INDIA BILL. 415 

of commons would not endure the found of fuch names. He 
wotild perifti by the meails which he is fuppofed to purfue 
for the fecurity of his power. The firft pledge he muft 
give of his fincerity in this great reform will be in the con- 
fidence which ought to be repofed in thofe names. 

For my part, Sir, in this bufinefs I put all indirect con- 
fiderations wholly out of my mind. My fole queftion, on 
each claufe of the bill, amounts to this : — Is the meafure 
propofed required by the neceffities of India ? I cannot con- 
fent totally to lofe fight of the real wants of the people who 
are the objedts of it, and to hunt after every matter of party 
fquabble that may be ftarted on the feveral provifions. On 
the queftion of the duration of the commiffion I am clear 
and decided. Can I, can any one who has taken the fmalleft 
trouble to be informed concerning the affairs of India, 
amufe himfelf with fo ftrange an imagination, as that the 
habitual defpotifm and oppreffion, that the monopolies, the 
peculations, the univerfal deftrudtion of all the legal authority 
of this kingdom, which have been for twenty years ma- 
turing to their prefent enormity, combined with the dif- 
tance of the fcene, the boldnefs and artifice of delinquents, 
their combination, their exceffive wealth, and the fadtion 
they have made in England, can be fully corre(Sted in a 
fiiorter term than four years ? None has hazarded fuch an 
aflertion— None, who has a regard for his reputation, will 
hazard it. 

Sir, the gentlemen, whoever they are, who fliall be ap- 
pointed to this commiffion, have an undertaking of magni- 
tude on their hands, and their ftability muft not only be, 
but it muft be thought, real; — and who is it will believe, 
that any thing Ihort of an eftablifhment made, fupported, 
and fixed in its duration, with all the authority of parlia- 
ment, can be thought fecure of a reaibnable ftability ? The 
X plaa 



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4i6 SPEECH ON MR. FOX^S 

plan of my honourable friend is the reverfe of that of re- 
forming by the authors of the abufe. The beft we could 
expert from them is, that they ftiould not continue their 
ancient pernicious aftivity. To thofe we could think of 
nothing but applying control \ as we are fure, that even a 
regard to their reputation (if any fuch thing exifts in them) 
would oblige them to cover, to conceal, to fupprefs, and 
confequently to i>revent, all cure of the grievances of India. 
For what can be difcovered, which is not to their difgrace? 
Every attempt to correct an abufe would be a fatire on their 
former adminiftratioa. Every man they fliould pretend to 
call to an account, would be found their inftriiment or their 
accomplice. They can never fee a beneficial regulation, 
but with a view to defeat it. The (horter the tenure of 
fuch perfons, the better would be the chance of fome 
amendment. 

iBut the fyftem of the bill is different* It calls in per- 
fons no wife concerned with any adl cenfured by parlia- 
ment ; perfons generated with, and for the reform of which, 
they are themfelves the moft effential part. To thefe the 
chief regulations in the bill are helps, not fetters ; they are 
authorities to fupport, not regulations to reftrain them. From 
'thefe we look for much more than innocence. From thefe we 
expe6t zeal, firmnefs, and unremitted aftivity. Their duty, 
their character, binds them to proceedings of vigour ; and 
they ought to have a tenure in their office which precludes 
all fear, whilll they are a^ing up to the purj[X)fes of their 
truft; a tenure without which, none will undertake plans 
that require a feries and fyftem of a6ls. When they know 
that they cannot be whifpered out of their duty, that their 
public conduct cannot be cenfured without a public difcuf- 
fion ; that the fchemes which they have begun will not be 
committed to thofe who will have an intereft and credit in 
3 defeating 



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EAST INDIA BILL- 417 

defeating and difgracing them; then we may entertain 
hopes. The tenure is for four years, or during their good 
behaviour. That good' behaviour is as long as they are true 
to the principles of the bill ; and the judgment is in either 
hoiife of parliament. This is the tenure of your judges ; 
and the valuable principle of the bill is, to make a judicial 
adihiniftration for India.' It is to give confidence in the 
execution of a duty, which requires as much perfeverance 
and fortitude as can fall to the lot of any that is born of 
woman. 

As to the gain by party, from the right honourable gen- 
tleman's bill, let it be »(hewn, that this fuppofed party 
advantage is pernicious to its objedt, and the objection is of 
weight ; but until this is done, and this has not been at- 
tempted, I fliail confider the fole obje<5tion, from its tendency 
to promote the intereft of a party, as altogether contemp- 
tible. The kingdom is divided into parties, and it ever has 
been fo divided, and it ever will be fo divided ; and if no 
fyftem for relieving the fubjeds of this kingdom from 
oppreflion, and fnatching its affairs from ruin, can be 
adopted, until it is demonftrated that no party can derive 
an advantage from it, no good can ever be done in this 
country. If party is to derive an advantage from the re- 
form of India, (which is more than I know, or believe) it 
ought to be that party which alone, in this kingdom, has 
its reputation, nay its very being, pledged to the proteiSlion 
and prefervation of that part of the empire. Great fear is 
exprefled, that the commiflioners named in this bill will 
fhew fome regard to 'a minifter out of place. To mth made 
like the objedlors, this muft appear criminal. Let it how- 
ever be remembered by others, that if the commiflioners 
Ihould be his friends, they cannot be his flaves. But de- 
pendants are not in a condition to adhere to friends, nor to 

Vol. IL 3 H principles. 



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4i8 SPEECH ON MR. POX'? 

principles) nor to any uniform Kne of coiidudt. They may 
begin cenfors, ^d be obliged to end accomplices. They 
may be even put under the direction of thofe vrhom they 
were appointed to puniih. 

The fourth and laft obje^ion is. That the bill will hurt 
public credit. I do not know whether this requires an 
anfwer. But if it does, look to your foundations. The 
finking fund is the pillar, of credit in this country ; and kt 
it not be forgof^, that thedjftrefles, owing to the mifmanage- 
ment of the Eaft India company, have already taken a mil* 
lion from that fund by the non-payment of duties. The 
bills drawn upon the company* whiqh are about four mil- 
lions, cannot be accepted without the conient of the trea- 
fury. The treafury, ading under a parliamentary truft and 
authority, pledges the public for thefe miUiociiS. If they 
pledge the public, the public muft have a fecurity in its 
hands for the management of this intereft, or the nat^cmal 
credit is gone. For otherwise it is not only the Eaft India 
company, which is a great intereft, that is undone, but, 
clinging to the fecurity of all your funds, it dragsdown the 
reft, and the whole fabric perifties in one ruin. If this bill 
does not provide a dire<Stion of integrity and of ability com- 
petent to that truft, the obje<Stion is fatal. If it doe$» public 
credit muft depend on the fupix)rt of the bill. 

It has been faid, if you violate this chartjer, what fecurity 
has the charter of the bank, in which public credit is fo 
deeply concerned, and even the charter of London, in 
which the rights of ft) many fubje<fts are involved ? I an- 
fwer, In the like cafe they have no fecurity at all— No — no 
fecurity at all. If the bank ihould, by every fpecies of 
mifmanagement, fall into a ftate fimilar to that of the Eaft 
India company ; if it ftiould be oppreffed with demands it 
could not anfwer, engagements which it could not per- 
2 ' . form. 



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EAST INDIA :6 I L L. 419 

Form, and with bills for which it coiild not procwe pay- 
ment ; no charter fhould prote<Sl the mifinanagement from 
corre<Stion, and fuch public grievances from redrefs. If the 
city of London had the means and will of deftroyiag an 
empire, and of cruelly oppreffing and tyrannizing over 
millions of men as good as themielves, the charter of the 
city of London Ihould prove no fan<Stion to fuch tyranny 
and fuchoppreffion. Charters are kept, when their purpofes 
are maintained: they are violated when the privilege i« fup- 
ported againft its end and its obje<St. 

Now, Sir, I have finilhed all I propofed to fay, as my rea- 
fons for giving ray Vote to this bill. If I am wrong, it is 
not for want of pains to know what is right. This pledge, 
at leaft, of my reditude I have given to my country. 

And now, having. done my duty to the bill* let me lay a 
word to the author. I fhould leave him to his own noble 
fentiments, if the «nwotrthy and illiberal language with 
which he has been ti^eat^d, beyond aU example of p^lia- 
mentary liberty, did not make a few words neceflary ; not 
fo much in juftice to him, as to my own feelings. I muft 
iay then, that it will be a diftintStion honourable to the age, 
that the refcue of the greateft number of the human race 
that ever were fo grievoully oj^reffed, from the greateft 
tyranny that was ever exercifed, has fallen to the lot of abi- 
lities and difpofitions equal to the taik ; that it has fallen to 
one who has the enlargement to comprehend, the fpirit to 
undertake, and the eloquence to fupport, fo great a meafure 
of hazardous benevolence. His fpirit is not owing to his ig- 
norance of the ftate of men and things; he well knows what 
ihares are fpread about his path, from perfonal animolity, 
from court intrigues, and poflibly from popular delufion. 
But he has put to hazard his eafe, his fecurity* his intereft, 
his power, even his darling popularity, for the benefit of a 

3 H 2 people 



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420 SPE:ECH' on MR. FOX*s 

people whom he has never ieen. This is the road that all 
heroes have trod before him. He is traduced and abufed 
for his fuppofed motives. He will remember, that obloquy 
is a neceffary ingredient in the compoiition of all trueglory : 
he willremember, that it was not only in the Roman cuf- 
toms, but it is in the nature and conftitution of things, that 
calumny and abufe are eflential parts of triumph. Thefe 
thoughts will fupport a mind, which only exifts for honour, 
under the burthen of temporary reproach. He is doing in- 
deed a great good ; fuch as rarely falls to the lot, and almoft 
as rarisly coincides with the defires, of any man.. Let him 
ufe his time. ■ Let him give thfe whole length of the reins to 
his benevolence. He is now on a great eminence, where the 
eyes of mankind are turned to him. He may live long, he 
may do much. But here is the fummit. , He never can ex- 
ceed what he does this day. 

He has faults ; but they are faults that,, though they may 
in a^fmall degree tamilh the luftre, and fometimes impede 
the march of his abilities, have nothing in them to extin- 
guifti the fire of great virtues. In thofe faults,, there is no 
mixture of deceit, of hypocrify, of pride^ of ferocity, of 
complexional defpotifm, or want of feeling for the diiirefles 
of mankind. His are faults which might exift in a defen- 
dant of Henry the Fourth of France, as they did exift in that 
father of his country. Henry the Fourth wilhed that he 
might live to fee a fowl in the pot of every, peafant of his 
kingdom. That fentiment of homely bei;ievolence was 
worth all the fplendid fayings that are recorded of kings. 
But he wilhed perhaps for more . than could be obtained, 
and the goodnefs of the man exceeded the power of the king. 
But this gentleman, a fubjedt, may this day fay this at leaft, 
with truth, that he fecures the rice in his pot to every man 
in India. A poet of antiquity thought it one of the firft 

5 diftin6tions 



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E A S T I N D I A BILL. 421 

drftiniSlions to a prince whom he meant to celebrate, that 
through a long fucceflion of generations, he had been the 
progenitor of an able and virtuous citizen, who by force of 
the arts of peace, had corre6ted governments of oppreflion, 
and fupprefled wars of rapine. 

Indole pxch quanta juvenis, quantumque daturus 
Aufonias populism ventura in (aecula civem. 
Ille fupcr Gangem, fuper exauditus et Indos^ 
Implebit terras voce ^ et fiirialia bella 
Fulmine compefcet linguae.— 

This was what was faid of the .predeceflbr of the onlyperfon 
to whofe eloquence it does not wrong that of the mover of 
this bill to be compared. But the Ganges and the Indus are 
the patrimony of the fame of my honourable friend, and 
not of Cicero. I confefs, I anticipate with joy the reward 
of thofe, whofe whole confequence, power, and authority, 
exift only for the benefit of mankind ; and 1 carry my mind 
to all the people, and all the names and defcriptions, that, 
relieved by this bill, will blefs the labours of this parliament, 
and the confidence which the beft houfe of commons has 
given to him who the beft deferves it. The little cavils of 
party will not be heard, where freedom and happinefs will 
be felt. There is not a tongue, a nation, or religion in India, 
which will not blefs the prefiding care and manly benefi- 
cence of this houfe, and of him who propofes to you this 
great work. Your names will never be feparated before the 
throne of the Divine Goodnefs, in whatever language, or 
with whatever rites, pardon is afked for fin, and reward for 
thofe who imitate the Godhead in his univerfal bounty to 
his creatures. Thefe honours you deferve, and they will 
furely be paid, when all the jargon, of influence, and party, 
and patronage, are fwept into oblivion. 

I have fpoken what I think, and what I feel, of the mover 
of this bill. An honourable friend of mine, fpeaking of his 

merits, 



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422 SPEECH ON MR. FOX»fi, &c. 

merits, was charged with having made a ftiwlied panegyric. 
I don't know what his was. Mine, I am fure, is a ftudied 
panegyric; the fruit of much meditation; the refult of the 
obfervation of near twenty years. For my own part, I am 
happy that I have lived to fee this day ; I feel myfelf oveiv 
paid for the labours of eighteen years, when, at this late pe- 
riod, I am able to take my fhare, by one humble vote, ia 
deftroying a tyranny that exifts to the diigrace of this na- 
tion, and the de£i:ru(5tion of ib large a part of the human 
fpecies. 



MR. 



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MR. BURKE'S 

SPEECH, 

O. N T H fi 

MOTION MADE FOR PAPERS 

RBLATIVE TO THE 

DIRECTIONS FOR CHARGING THE NABOB OF ARGOT'S PRIVATE DEBTS 
TO EUROPEANS, ON THE REVENUES OF THE CARNATIC. 

FEBRUARY aSth^ 1785^ 

WITH AN 

APPENDIX, containing feveral Documents. 



^vlauGa ri vfiflnv l^f Sv M^pa rut ^^a7»v®' xm AftroreXot/; ^vlkuHiv ioyfialav ; apa 'Sifio^M 
av^fiTThg Mia^ roi^ ti;>ivku^ Iit3i3b/bicv8;> i\ ho^ Hvottm cundtg ofJuvBiVy 6i{icu^ u( nivi to Mvxmof 
iiahuai Jia to ^iofjualg ipyaff%pwv rm TOtisrav^ IEjiaoi fjiiv Sv cucx^fi^ c'vou iotcii rig f^v x^^^X^ij 
irrav ^fiWo't Tnv Ta|iv, hotio^Mo^tir tyjv it {m\^ adMav afvOfuTToov \mo>£lvtkV Tc^tVy orav isri mpi^ 
lO^sTflsii iyaviitc^at touth;* hcu Totha ts ©eS avfjifjuixaylog hfMfy ia-^s^ vv fro^. 

JULIANI Epift. 17* 



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■ * . » • 



ADVERTISEMENT. 



THAT the leaft informed reader of this fpeech may be 
enabled to enter fully into the fpirlt of the tranfac- 
tion on occafion of which it was delivered, it may be proper 
to acquaint him, that among the princes dependent on this 
nation in the fouthern part of India, the moft confiderable 
at prefent is commonly known by the title of the Nabob of 
Arcot. 

This prince owed the eftablifhment of his government, 
againft the claims of his elder brother, as well as thofe of 
other competitors, to the arms and influence of the Britifh 
Eaft India Company. Being thus eftablifhed in a confider- 
able part of the dominions he now poflefles, he began, 
about the year 1765, to form, at the inftigation (as he aflerts) 
of the fervants of theEaft India Company, a variety of de* 
figns for the further extenfion of his territories. Some 
years after, he carried his views to certain objects of interior 
arrangement, of a very pernicious nature. None of thefe 
defigns" could be comjpafied without the aid of the com- 
pany's arms ; nor could thofe arms be employed confiftently 
with ah obedience to the company's orders. He was there- 
fore advifed to form a more fectef, biit an equally powerful 
intereft among the fervants of that company, and among 
others both at home and abroad. By engaging them in his 
interefts,.thc ufe Of the company's, power might be obtained 
"Vol. p. ' ' ;3l .without 



M' 



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426 ADVIERTISEME NT. 

without tkeir oftenfible authority; the power might even 
be employed in defiance of the authority, if the cafe fiiould 
require, as in truth it often did require, a proceeding of that 
degree of boldnefs. 

The company had put hiln into poffeflion of fevtral great 
cities, and magnificent caftles. The good order of his affairs, 
his fenfe of perfonal dignity, his ideas of oriental fplendour, 
and the habits of an Afiatick life (to which, being a native 
of India, and a Mahometan, he had from his infancy been 
enured) would naturally have led him to fix the feat of his 
^government within his own dominions. Inftead of this, he 
.totally fequeilered himfelf from his country ; and, abandon- 
ing all appearance of flate, he took tip his refidence in an 
ordinary houfe, which he purchafed in the fuburbs of the 
company's faftory at Madras. In that place he has lived, 
without removing one day from, thence, for ieveral years 
pafl. He has there continued a conllant cabalwith the 
c6mpany's fervants, from the higheft to theloweft; creating, 
out of the ruins of the country, brilliaht fortunes for thofe 
who will, and entirely deftroying thofe who will not^be fub- 
fervient to his purpofes. 

An opinion prevailed, ftrongly confirmed by feyeral pifl 
£2^es ia his own letters, as well as by a combination of cif- 
cumilances forming a body of evidence which cannot be re- 
iifted, that very great fums have been by him diftlibutfed, 
through a long oourfe of years^ to fiwne of the company^s 
iervants* Befides thefe prefiimed payments id ready mo*- 
ney (of which, from the nature of the thiiig,' tlie direft 
proof is very diflBucult) del;>t« have at Several periods been 
acknowledged to thofe gentlemen, to an inimenfe amount; 
that is, to fome millions of iierliDig money. There is flrong 
reason to fufpe6l, that the body of theft debts is wboHy 
\ ' Ii<£iitious, 



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ADVERTISEMENT. 4^7 

fidtitious, and was never created by money dona^delent. But 
even on t fuppofition that this vaft fum was really advanced* 
it was impoffible that the very reality of fuch an aftonilhing 
tranfa<ftion (hould not caufe fome degree of alarm, and 
incite to fome fort of enquiry. 

It was not at all feemly, at a moment when the company 
itfelf was fo diftrefled, as to require a fufpenfion, by a^ of 
parliament, of the payment of bills drawn on them frooa 
India-^and alfo 4 direct tax upon every houfe in England, 
in order to facilitate the vent of their goods, and to avoid 
inftant infolvency — at that very moment that their fervants 
fhould appear in fo fiourifhing a condition, as, beiides ten 
minion of other demands on their mafters, to be entitled to 
claim a debt of three or four millions more from the territo- 
rial revenue of one of their dependent princes. 

The oftenfible pecuniary tranfaAions of the nabob of 
Arcot, with very private perfons, are fo enormous, that they 
evidently fet afide every pretence of policy, which might 
induce a prudent government in fome inftances to wink at 
ordinary loofe iMra<5tice in ill-managed departments. No 
caution could be too great in handling this matter; no feru* 
tiny too cKtuSt. It was evidently the intereft, and as evi- 
dently at leaft in the power, of the creditors, by admitting 
iecret participation in this dark, and undefined concern, to 
fpread eorniption to the greateft and the moft alarming 
extent. 

Thtfe fa6ls relative to the debts were fo notorious, the 
opinion of their being a principal fource of the diforders of 
the Britifti government in India was fy undifputed and uni* 
vcrfal, that there was no party, no defcription of men in. 
parliament, who did not think themfdves bound) if not iii 
Ixonour ond confcienoe, at leaft in .common decency* ta in* 

3 I z ftitute 



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4i8 AD VERTISEME NT; 

ftitute a vigorous enquiry into the very bottom of fti^ 
bufinefs, before they admitted any part of that vaft and 
fufpicious charge to be laid upon an exhaufted country. 
Every plan concurred in directing fuch an enquiry; in order 
that whatever was difcovered to be corrupt, fraudulent, or 
oppreffive, fhould lead to a due animadverlion on the oflfen- 
ders ; and if any thing fair and equitable in its origin Ihould 
be found (nobody fufpedled that much, comparatively 
fpeaking, would be fo found) it might be provided for ; in 
due fubordination, however, to the eafe of the fubjedl, 
and the fervice of the ftate. 

Thefe were the alledged grounds for an .enquiry, fettled 
in all the bills brought into. parliament relative to Ixidia, and 
there were I think no lefs than four of theiti. By the bill, 
commonly called Mr. Pitt's bill, the enquiry was fpecially, 
and by exprefs words, committed to the court of diredors, 
without any referve for the interference of any other perfon 
or perfons whatfoever. It was ordered tliat tbey ihould 
make the enquiry into the origin and juftice of thefe debts, as 
far as the materials in tbeir pofleffion enabled them to pro- 
ceed ; and: where tbey found thofe materials deficient, tbey 
ihould order the prefidency of Fort St. George [Madras] to 
complete the enquiry. 

The court of dire<£tors applied themfelves to the execution 
of the truft repofed in them. They firft examined into the 
amount of the debt, which they computed, at compound 
iritereft, to be £. 2,945,600 fterling. Whether their mode of 
computation, either of the original fums, or the amouiit 
on compound intereft, was exadl; that is, whether they 
took the intereft too high, or the feveral capitals too low, is 
not material. On whatever principle any of the calculations 
were made up, none of them found the debt to differ from the 
9 recital 



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ADVjERTISEMEJSFT. 429 

reeital of thp a6l:, which afferted, that the fums claimed were 
« v^ry large." The laft head of thefe debts the diredtors 
compute at £, 2^65,680 fterling. Of the exiftence of this 
debt the diredors heard nothing until 1776, and they fay, 
that, ** although they had repeatedly written to the na- 
« bob of Arcot, and to thpir fervants, refpedting the debt, 
« yet they bad r^ver been able to trace the origin there- 
** oft or to obtain any JatisfaSfory information on the fub- 

The court of dire(Stors, after ftating the circumffances 
under which the debts appeared to them to have been con- 
tra(Sted, add as follows, " For thefe reafons \ye fhould have 
« thought it our duty to enquire very minutely into thofe 
<' debts, even if the adl of parliament had. been filent on the 
«* fubjedt, before we concurred in any meafure for their 
<« payment. But with the- pofitive injunctions of the adt 
*<^ before us, to examine into their nature and origin, we. are- 
** indifpenfably bound to diredt fuch an enquiry to be in.- 
« ftituted." They then order the prefident and council, of 
Madras lo enter inta a full examination,, &c. &c* 
. The directors having drawn up their order to the prefi- 
.dency on thefe principles, communicated the draught of the 
.general letter in which thofe orders were contained, to the 
board of his majefty's minifters, and other fervants, lately 
conftituted by Mr. Pitt's Eaft India ad.. Thefe minifters; 
-who had juft carried through parliament the bill ordering a 
fpecific enquiry, immediately drew up another letter,, oa a 
-principle dire<aiy oppolite to that, which was prefcribed \>j 
the a<ft of parliament, and followed by the diredtors... In 
thefe fecond orders,, all- idea of an enquiry into the juftice and', 
origin of the pretended debts, particularly of the laft, the 
greateft} and the moft obnoxious ta fufpicion, is. abandoned.. 

They 



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430 ADVERTISEMENT^. 

They are all admitted and eftablifhed without any inveftiga- 
tlon whatfoever ; except fome private conference wHhthe 
agents of the claimants is to pafa for an inveftigation ; 
and a 'fuhd for their difcharge is ailigoed and iet apart out 
of the revenues of the Garnatic. — To this arrangement in 
favour of their fervants, fervants fufpefted of corruption, 
and conviifted of difobedience, the directors of the Eaft India 
company were ordered to fet their hands, afferting it to arife 
from their own convi<Stion and opinion, in flat contradidtion 
to their recorded fentiments, their ftrong remonftrance, and 
their declared fcnfe of their duty, as well under their gieneral 
truft and their oath as diredlors, as under the exprefs ih- 
jundtions of an aft of parliament. 

The principles upon which this fummary proceeding was 
adopted by the minifterial board, are ftated by themfehres in 
a number in the appendix to this fpeech. 

By another fe<ftion of the fame aft, the fame court of di- 
rectors were ordered to take into confideration and to decide 
on the indeterminate rights of the rajah of Tanjore and the 
nabob of Arcot ; and in this, as in the former cafe, no power 
of appeal, revilion, or alteration was referved- to any cither. 
It was a jurifdiftion, in a caufe between party and party, 
given to the court of directors fpecifically. It was known, 
that the territories of the former of thefe princes had been 
twice invaded and pillaged, and the prince depofed and im- 
prifoned, by the company's fervants, influenced by the in- 
trigues of the latter, and for the purpofe of paying his 
pretended debts. The company had, in the year 1775, or- 
dered a reftoration of the rajah to his government, under 
certain conditions. The rajah complained that- his territo- 
ries had not been completely reftored to him ; and that no 
part of his goods, money, revenues^ or records, unjuftly 

taken 



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A py « Jt T 19 B ME NT. 431 

. talC€a .91)4 ^iUv*held f^oin him> were «ver returned. The 
■DabQibt on the other haod, never ce^^ to daim the countiry 
^itiblfi.iap4<)aiwi^ qq a coi^tinued tr;unof joegociatioii, that 
it fhould. again be giyen up to hini) in violation of ^e com- 
pany's public faith. 

The directors, in obedience to this part of the aft, ordered 
an enquiry, and came to a determination to reftore certain 
of his territories to the rajah. The minifters proceeding as 
in the former cafe, without hearing any party, refcinded 
the decifion of the directors, refufed the reftitu'tion of the 
territory, and without regard to the condition of the coun- 
try of Tanjore, which had been within a few years four 
times plundered (twice by the nabob of Arcot, and twice 
by enemies brought upon it folely by the politics of the 
fame nabob, the declared enemy of that people) and with- 
out difcounting a Ihilling for their fufFerings, they accumu- 
late an arrear of about 400,000 pounds of pretended tribute: 
to this enemy ; and then they order the directors to put their 
hands to a new adjudication, direftly contrary to a judg- 
ment, in a judicial chara<Ster and truft, folemnly given by. 
them, and entered on their records. 

Thefe proceedings naturally called for fome enquiry. On 
the 28th of February, 1785, Mr. Fox madfe the following 
motion in the houfe of commons,, after moving that the 
claufes of the a<5t Ihould be read — ^" That the proper officer 
" do lay before this houfe copies and extracts of all letters 
** and orders of the court of directors of the united Eaft 
** India Company, in purfuance of the injunftions contain- 
" ed in the 37th and 38th claufes of the faid aft;** and the 
quefhon being put, it paiSed in the negative by a very great 
majority. 

■ - The 



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4^ A D V E RT I S E ME NT. 

The laft fpeech in the debate was the followifig ? wWcH is 
given to the public, not as being more worthy of its atten- 
tion thattothers (fome of which weife of ccHifummate ability) 
but as entering more into the detail of the fubje^. 



SPEECH, 



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C 433 > 



S P E E C H, &c. 



TH E times we live in, Mr. Speaker, have been diftin- 
guifhed by extraordinary events. Habituated, how- 
ever, as we are, to uncommon combinations of men and of 
affairs, I believe nobody recoUedls any thing more fur- 
prifing than the fpe£tacle of this day. The right ho- 
nourable gentleman *, whofe conduct is now in queftion, 
formerly flood forth in this houfe, the profecutor of the 
worthy baronet + who fpoke after him* He charged him 
with feveral grievous a(Sts of malverfation in office; with 
abufes of a public trufl of a gr^at and heinous nature. In 
lefs than two years we fee the fituation of the parties re- 
verfed ; and a fingular revolution puts the worthy baronet 
in a fair way of returning the profecution in a recrimina- 
tory bill of pains and penalties, grounded on a breach of 
public truft, relative to the government of the very fame 
part of India. If he fliould undertake a bill of that kind, 
he will find no difficulty in condu<Sting it with a degree of 
fkill and vigour fully equal to all that have been exerted 
againfl him. 

But the change of relation between thefe two gentlemen 
is not fo flriking as the total difference of their deportment 
under the fame unhappy circumflances. Whatever the 
merits of the worthy baronefs defence might have been, 
he did not fhrink from the charge. He met it with manli- 

* Right honourable Henry Dundas. 

t Sir Thomas Rumbold, late governor of Madras. 

Vol. II. 3 K ncfs 



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434- SPEECfl ON THE 

nels of fpirit, and decency of behaviour. What would 
have been thought of him, if he had held the prefent 
language of his old accufer ? When articles were exhibited 
againft him by that right honourable gentleman, he did 
not think proper to tell the houfe that we ought to inftitute 
no enquiry, to infpedt no paper, to examine no witnefe; 
He did not tell us (what at that time he might have told us 
with fome fhew of reafon) that our concerns in India were 
matters of delicacy ; that to divulge any thing relative to 
them would be mifchievous to the ftate. He did not teH us,, 
that thofe who would enquire into his proceedings were 
difpcfcd ro difinember the empire. He had not the pre- 
fiimption to fay, that for his part, having obtained in his 
Indian prelldency, the ultimate objeA of his ambition, his 
honour was concerned in executing with ititegrity the 
truft which had been legally committed to his charge. 
That others, not having been fo fortunate, could notte- 
fo difinterefted ; and therefore their accufatibns could 
fpring from no other fource than £a<5tion, and envy to his. 
fortune. 

Had he been frontlefs enough to hold^ fuch vain vapouring- 
language in the face of a grave, a detailed, a fpecified matter 
of accufation, whilft he violently relifted every thing which, 
could bring the merits of his caufe to the tell ;. had he been 
wild' enough to anticipate the abfurdities of this day; that 
is, had he inferred, as his late accufer has thought proper 
to do, that he could nOt have been guilty of malyerfation ia 
o^Sfe,. for this fole and curious reafon,.that he had been in. 
office ; had he argued the impoffibility of: his abuflng his 
power on this fole principle, that he had power to abufe, he 
would have left but one impreffion on the mind of every, 
man who heard him, and. who believed him in his fenfes-* 
ttbat in. the utmolt extent he was guilty of the charge. 

a But„ 



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NABOB OF ARGOT'S DEBTS. 435 

But, Sir, leaving thefe two gentlemen to alternate, as 
criminal and accufer, upon what principles they think ex- 
pedient ; it is for us to confider, Whether the chancellor of 
the exchequer, and the treafurer of the navy, a6ting as a 
board of control, are juftified by law or policy, in fufpend- 
ing the legal arrangements made by the court of dire<5tprs, 
in order to transfer the public revenues to the private emo- 
lument of certain fervants of the Eaft India company, with- 
out the enquiry into the origin and juftice of their claims, 
prefcribed by an a<St of parliament ? 

It is hot contended, that the a6t of parliament did not 
exprefsly ordain an enquiry. It is not afferted that this 
enquiry was not, with equal precifion of terms, fpecially 
committed under particular regulations to the court of di- 
re6lors. I conceive, therefore, the board of control had no 
right whatfoever to intermeddle in that bulinefs. There is 
nothing certain in the principles of jurifprudence, if this be 
not undeniably true, that when a fpecial authority is given 
to any perfons by name, to do fome particular a<St, that no 
others, by virtue of general powers, can obtain a legal title 
to intrude themfelves into that truft, and to exercife thofe 
fpecial fun(Stions in their place. I thejefore conjfider the 
intermeddling of minifters in this affair as a downright 
ufurpation. But if the ftrained conftrudlion, by which they 
have forced themfelves into a fufpicious office (which every 
man, delicate with regard to charadler, would rather have 
fought conftruiStions to avoid) were perfcdlly found and per- 
fedtly legal, of this I am certain, that they cannot be jufti-» 
fied in declining the enquiry which had been prefcribed to 
the court of directors. If the board of control did lawfully 
polTefs the right of executing the fpecial truft given to that 
court, they muft take it as they found it, fubjedt to the very 
fame regulations which bound the court of diredtors. It will 

3 K 2 be 



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436 SPEECHON THE 

be allowed that the court of diredlors had no authority to 
difpenfe \yith either the fubllance, or the mode of enquiry 
prescribed by the a£t of parliament. If they had not, 
where, in the adl, did the board of control acquire that ca- 
pacity ? Indeed, it was impoflible they fhould acquire it. — 
What muft we think of the fabric and texture of an a<5t of 
parliament which fhould find it neceflary to prefcribe a 
ftridt inquifition ; that Ihould defcend into minute regula- 
tions for the conduit of that inquifition ; that ftiould comL* 
mit this truft to a particular defcription of men, and in the 
very fame breath (hould enable another body, at their own 
pleafure, to fuperfede all the provifions the legiflature had 
made, and to defeat the whole purpofe, end, and objedt of 
the law ? This cannot be fuppofed even of an a<5l of parliar 
ment conceived by the minifters themfelves,. and brought 
forth during the delirium of the laft feflion. 

My honourable friend has told you. in the fpeecli which 
introduced his motion, that fortunately this queftion is not 
a great deal involved in the labyrinths of Indian detaiL 
Certainly not. But if it were,, I beg leave to aflfure you,, 
that there is nothing in the Indian detail which is more, 
difficult than in the detail of aiiy other bufinels.. I admits 
becaufe I have fbme experience of the fadt, that for the in- 
terior regulation of India, a minute knowledge of India is 
requiiite. But on any fpecific matter of delinquency in its. 
government, you are as capable of judging,, as if the fame, 
thing were dorie at your door. Fraurl, injuftice, oppreffion,. 
peculation, engendered in India, are crimes, of the fame, 
blood, family, and call,, with thofe that are born and bred, 
in England. To. go no further than the.cafe before us; you, 
are juft as competent to judge whether the fum of four mil- 
lions fterling ought, or ought not, to be pafled from. the. 
public treafury into a private pocket, without any title; 

except 



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NABOB OF ARGOT'S DEBTS. 437 

except the claim of the parties, when the ifllie of fa£t is laid 
in Madras, as when it is laid in Weftminlier. Terms of art,; 
indeed^ are different in diflferent places ; but they are gene- 
rally underftood in none^ The technical ftyle of an Indian 
treafury, is not one jot more remote than the jargon of our 
own exchequer, from the train of our ordinary ideas, or the 
idiom of our common language. The difference therefore 
in the two cafes, is not in the comparative difficulty or faci- 
lity of the two fubje(£ts, but in our attention to the one, and 
our total neglecSl of the other. Had this attention and neg- 
lect been regulated by the value of the feveral objecSls, there 
would be nothing to complain of. But the reverfe of that 
fuppofition is true. The fcene of the Indian abufe is diftant 
indeed ; but we muft not infer, that the value of our in- 
tereft in it is decreafed in proportion as it recedes from 
our view. In our politics, as in our common condudl, we 
fliall be worfe than infants, if we do not put our fenfes 
under the tuitiou of our judgment, and effe<5lually cure 
ourfelvesof that optical illufion which makes a briar at our * 
nofe of greater magnitude, than an oak at five hundred 
yards diftance. 

I think I can trace all the calamities of this country to the 
fingle fource of our not having had Head ily before our eyes- 
a general, comprehenfive, well-conneded,, and wellrpro- 
portioned view of the whole of our dominions, and a juft 
fenfe of their true bearings and relations. After all its re- 
du6tions, the Britifti empire is Hill vaft and various. After 
all the reduiStions of the houfe of commons, (fbipped as we 
are of our brighteit ornaments,, and of our moft important 
privileges) enough are yet left to furnifli us,, if we pleafe,, 
with means, of Ihewing to the world, that wedeferve the 
fiiperintendance of as large an empire as this kingdom ever 
held, and the continuance of as ample privileges as the. 

houffc 



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438 SPEEQH ON THE 

houfe of Commons, in the plenitude of its powcir, had been 
habituated to afleit. But if we make ourfelves too little for 
the fphere of our duty ; if, on the contrary, we do not 
ftretch aud expand our minds to the compafs of their ob- 
je<5t, be well aflured, that every thing about us will dwindle 
by degrees, until at length our concerns are Ihrunk to the 
dimenfions of our minds. It is not a prcdile<5tion to mean, 
fordid, home-bred cares, that will avert the confequences of 
a falfe ^ftimation of our inter^, or prevent the (hameful 
dilapidation into which a great empire mufl: fall, by mean 
reparations upon mighty ruins. 

I confefs I feel a degree of difguft, almoft leading to 
defpair, at the manner in which we are a&ing in the great 
exigencies of our country. Thefe is now a bill in this 
houfe, appointing a rigid inquifition into the minuteft de- 
tail of our offices at home. The colledtion of fixteen mil- 
lions annually ; a collection on which the public greatuefs, 
fafety, and credit have their reliance ; the whole order of 
criminal jurifprudence, which holds together fociety itfelf, 
have at no time obliged us to call forth iiich powers ; no, 
nor any thing like them. There is not a principle of the law 
and conftitution of this country that is not fubverted to fa- 
vour the execution of that proje«5t *. And for what is all 
this apparatus of buftle and terror ? Is it becauie any thing 
fubftantial is expe<5ted from it ? No. The ftir and buftle 
itfelf is the end propofed. The eye-fervants of a fliort- 
lighted mafter will employ themfelves, not on what is moft 
eflential to his afi^rs, but on what is neareft to his ken. 
Great difficulties have given a juft value to oeconomy ; and 
our minifter of the day muft be an oeconomift, whatever it 
may coft us. But where is he to exert his talents ? At 
home to be fure ; for where elfe can he obtain a profitable 

• Appendix, N* i. 

credit 



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NABOB OF ARGOT'S DEBTS- 439 

credit for their exertion? It is nothing to him, whether 
the objeft on which he works under our eye be promifing 
or not. If he does not obtaia any public benefit, he may 
make regulations without end. Thofe are fure to pay in 
prefent expe<ftation, whilft the efFedl is at a diftance, and^ 
may be the concern of other times, and other men. On 
thefe principles he choofes to fuppofe (for he does not pre- 
tend more than to fuppofe) a naked poffibility, that he 
jttiall draw fome refource out of crumbs dropped from the 
trenchers of penury ; that fomething ftiall be laid in ftore 
£rom the ihort allowance of revenue officers, overloaded 
with duty, and famiihed for want of bread ; by a redudlion 
from officers who are at this very hotir ready to batter 
the treafury with what breaks through ftone walls, for an 
mcreafe of their appointnrxents.. From the marroAvlefs. 
bone« of thefe flfceleton eftablifhments, hy the ufe of every 
fort of cutting,^ and of every ibrt of fretting tool, he flatters^ 
lucnfelf that .he may chip and i;afp an empirical alimentary 
powder, to diet into fome fimilitude-of health and fubftance 
the languifliir^ chimeras of fraudulent reformation. 

WhiMl he is thus employed according to his policy and to 
histafte, he has not leifure to. enquire into thofe abufes in 
India that are drawing off money by millions from the 
treaflires of this country, which are exhaufting the vital 
juices from members of the .ftate, where the pufolic inani-^ 
tion is far ^more forely felt than in the local exchequer of 
England. Not content with winking at thefe abufes, whilft 
he attempts to fqueeze the laborious iU-paid drudges of 
Englifh revenue, he lavilhes in one a6t of corrupt prodiga- 
lity, upon thofe who never ferved the public in any honeft" 
occupation at all, an annual income equal to two thirds of the; 
whole colle6lion of the revenues of this kingdom. 

A.<9;uate.d by the fara.e principle of choice, he has now oru 

the; 



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44» 'SPEECH ON THE 

the anvil another fcheme, full of difficulty and defperate ha- 
zard, which totally alters the commercial relation of two 
kingdoms; and what end foever it (hall have, may bequeath 
a legacy of heart-burning and difcontent to one of the 
countries, perhaps to both, to be perpetuated to the lateft 
pofterity. This projedl is alfo undertaken on the hope of 
profit. It is provided, that out of fome (I know not what) 
remains of the Irifli hereditary revenue, a fund at forae 
time, and of fome fort, (hould be applied to the protedlion 
of the Irifh trade. Here we are commanded again to tafk 
our faith, and to perfuade ourfelves, that out of the furplus 
of deficiency, out of the favings of habitual and fyftematic 
prodigality, the minifter of wonders will provide fupport 
for this nation, finking under the mountainous load of two 
hundred and thirty millions of debt. But whilft we look with 
pain at his defperate and laborious trifling; whilft we are 
apprehenfive that he will break his back in ftooping to pick 
up chaff and ftraws, he recovers himfelf at an elaftic bound, 
and with a broad-caft fwing of his arm, he fquanders over 
his Indian field a fum far greater than the clear produce of 
the whole hereditary revenue of the kingdom of Ireland*. 

Strange as this fcheme of conduct in miniftry is, and in- 
con fiftent with all juft policy, it is ftill true to itfelf, and 
faithful to its own perverted order. Thofe who are boun- 
tiful to crimes, will be rigid to merit, and penurious to fer- 
vice. Their penury is even held out as a blind and cover 
to their prodigality. The ceconomy of injuftice is, to fur- 
nifti refources for the fund of corruption. Then they pay 
off their protection to great crimes and great criminals, by 

• The whole of the net Irifli hereditary revenue is, on a medium of the laft feven 
year?, about £. 330,000 yearly. The revenues of all denominations M fliort more than 
/\ 150,000 yearly of the charges. On the pre/ent produce, if Mr. Pitt's fcheme was to 
fake place, he might gain from feven to ten thoufand pounds a year. 

being 



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NABOB OF ARGOT'S DEBTS. 



441 



being inexorable to the paltry frailties of little men ; and 
thefe modern flagellants are fure, with a rigid fidelity, to 
whip their own enormities on the vicarious back of every 
fmall offender. 

It is to draw your attention to oeconomy of quite another 
order; it is to animadvert on offences of a far diflferent 
defcription) that my honourable friend has brought before 
you the motion of this day. It is to perpetuate the abufes 
which are fubverting the fabric of your empire, that the 
motion is oppofed. It is therefore with reafon (and if he 
has power to carry himfelf through, I coinmend his pru- 
dence) that the right honourable gentleman makes his 
ftand at the very outfet ; and boldly refufes all parlia- 
mentary information. Let him admit but one ftep to- 
wards enquiry, an<} he is undone. You muft be ignorant, 
or he cannot be fafe. But before his curtain is let down, 
and the Ihades of eternal night fhall veil our eaftern domi- 
nions from our view, permit me, Sir, to avail myfelf of the 
means which were furnilhed in anxious and inquifitive 
times, to demonftrate out of this fingle a(St of the prefent 
minifter, what advantages you are to derive from permitting 
the greateft concern of this nation to be feparated from the 
cognizance, and exempted even out of the competence, of 
parliament. The greateft body of your revenue, your moft 
numerous armies, your moft important commerce, the 
richeft fources of your public credit, (contrary to every idea 
of the known fettled policy of England) are on the point of 
being converted into a myftery of ftate. You are going to 
have one half of the globe hid even from the common libe- . 
ral ciiriofity of an Englifh gentleman. Here a grand revo- 
lution commences. Mark the period, and mark the circum- 
ftances. In moft of the capital changes tliat are recorded 
in the principles and fyftem of any government, a public 
Vol. II. 3 L benefit 



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44^ SPEECH ON THE 

benefit of fomc kind or other has been pretended. The 
revohition <:ommenced in fomething plaufible ; in fome- 
thing which carried the appearance at leaft of piinifhment 
of delinquency, ot corre<^ion of abiife. But here, in the 
very moment of the converfion of a department of Britifti 
government into an Indian myftery, and in the very a<St in 
which the change commences, a corrupt, private intereft is 
fet up in direcfl oppofition to the neceflities of the nation. 
A diverfion is made of millions of the public money from 
the public treafury to a private purfe. It is not into fecret 
negociations for war, peace, or alliance, that the houfe of 
commons is forbidden to enquire.. It is a matter of ac- 
count ; it is a pecuniary tranfadtion ; it is the demand of a 
fufpefted fteward upon ruined tenants and an embarrafled 
mafter, that the commons of Great Britain are commanded 
not to infpedl. The whole tenor of the right honourable 
gentleman's argument is confonant to the nature of his po- 
licy. The fyftem of concealment is foftered by a fyftem of 
falfehood. Falfe fa6ls> falfe colours^ falfe names of perfons 
and things, are its whole fupport. 

Sir, 1 mean to follow the right honourable gentleman 
over that field of deception^ clearing what he has purpofely 
obfcured, and fairly ftating what it was neceffary for him to 
mifreprefent.. For this purpofe, it is neceffary you fhould 
know with fome degree of diftindtnefs, a little of the loca- 
lity, the nature, the circumftances, the magnitude of the 
pretended debts on which this marvellous donation is* 
fdiinded, as well as of the perfons from, whom and by whoncb 
it is claimed. 

Madras, with its dependencies, is the fecond (hvtt with a 
long intei?val, the fecond) member of the Britifti empire in. 
the eaft* The trade of that city, and of the adjacent terri-^ 
tory, was, not very long ago, among the moft ilouriftiing ia 

Aiiaw 



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NABOB OF ARCOT^s DEBtS^ .4^ 

Afia. But fince the eftabliftiment of the Brjtifli power," jt 
has wafted ^way under an unifornx gradual decline ; infq- 
much that in the year 1779 ^^^ ^^® merchant of eminenqe 
W4S to be found in the whole country *• During this periojd 
of decay, about fix hundred thoufjtnd fterling pounds a ye v 
have been drawn off by Englifh gentlemen on their priyatp 
account, by the way of China ^lonef • If we add four hun- 
dred thoufand, as probably remitted through other chan- 
nels, and in other mediums, that is, in jewels, gold, and 
filver directly brought to Europe, and in bills ujwn the 
Britifh ^nd foreign companies, you will fcarcely think the 
matter over-rated. If we fix the commencement of this 
extraction of money from the Carnatic at a period no earlier 
than the year 1760, and clofe it in the year 1780, it probably 
will not amount to a great deal lefs than twenty millions of 
money. 

During the deep filent flow of this fteady ftream of wealthy 
which fet from India into Europe, it generally pafled on 
with no adequate obfervation ; but happening at fome pe* 
riods to meet rifts of rocks that checked its courfe, it 
grew more noify, and attracted more notice* The pecu- 
niary difcuflions caufed by an accumulation of part of the 
fortunes of their fervants in a debt from the nabob of Arcot, 
was the firft thing which very particularly called for, and 
long engaged, the attention of the court of dire<Slors. This 
debt amounted to eight hundred and eighty thoufand pounds 
fterling, and was claimed, for the greater part, by Englifh 
gentlemen, refiding at Madras. This grand capital, fetded 
at length by order, at ten per cent, afforded an annuity of 
eighty-eight thoufand pounds J. 

Whilft the directors were digefting their aftoniftiment at 

* Mr. Smith's examinalion before the feleA committee, Appendix N*" ft. 

t Appendix N® 2. 

X Fourth report, Mr. Dundas's committee, p. 4. 

3 L 2 this 



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444 SPEECH ON THE 

this information, a memorial was prefented to them from 
three gentlemen, informing them that their friends had 
lent like wife, to merchants of Canton in China, a fiim of 
not more than one million fterling. In this memorial they 
called upon the company for their aiiiftance and interpo- 
lition with the Chinefe government for the recovery of the 
debt. This fum lent to' Chinefe merchants, was at i/^per 
cent, which would yield, if paid, an annuity of two hundred 
and forty thoufand pounds *. 

Perplexed as the directors were with thefe demands, you 
may conceive. Sir, that they did not find themfelvcs very 
much difembarrafled, by being made acquainted that they 
muft again exert their influence for a new referve of the 
happy parfimony of their fervants, coUedled into a fccond 
debt from the nabob of Arcot, ampunting to two millions 
four hundred thoufand pounds, fettled at an intereft of 12 per 
-cent. This is known by the name of the Confolidation of 
1777, ^s the former of the nabob's debts was by the title of the 
Confolidation of 1767. To this was added, in a feparate parcel> 
a little referve called the Cavalry debt, of one hundred and 
fixty thoufand pounds, at the fame intereft. The whole of 
thefe four capitals, amounting to four millions four hundred 
and forty thoufand pounds, produced at their feveral rates, 
annuities amounting to fix hundred and twenty-three thou- 
fand pounds a year ; a good deal more than one third of the 
clear land-tax of England, at four fhillings in the pound; 
a good deal more than double the whole annual dividend of 
the Eaft India company, the nominal matters to the pro- 
prietors in thefe funds* Of this intereft, three hundred and 
eighty-three thoufand two hundred pounds a year ftood 
chargeable on the public revenues of the Carnatic. 

• A witnefs examined before the committee of fecieCy iays, that eighteen per cent, was 
the ufual intereft ; but he had heard that more had been given. The above is the account 
which Mr. B, received. 

Sir> 



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NABOB OF ARGOT'S DEBTS- 445 

isir, at this mbm^nt, k will not be neceffary to confider 
the various operations which the capital and intereft of this 
debt have fucceflively undergone. I Ihall'fpeak to thefe 
operations when I come particularly to anfwer the right ho- 
nourable gentleman on each of the heads, as he has thought 
proper tO' divide them. But this was the exadl view in 
' which thefe debts firft appeared to the court of directors, 
and to the world. It varied afterwards. But it never ap- 
peared in arty other than a moft queftionable Ihape- When 
this gigantic phantom of debt firft appeared before a 
young minifter, it naturally would have juftified fome de- 
gree of doubt and apprehenfion. Such a prodigy ' would 
have fiHed any common man with:furperftitious fears. He 
would exorcife that Ihapelefs, namelefe form> and by every 
thing facred would have adjured it to tell by what means a 
fmall number of flight individuals, of no confequence or 
fitudtion, pofleffed of no lucrative offices, without the com- 
mand of 'arhfiies, or the known adminiilration of revenues, 
without profeffion of any kind, without any fort of trade 
fufficient to employ a pedlar, could have^ in a few years (as 
to fome -even in a few months) have amaffed treafures equal 
to the revenues of a refpe6table kingdom? Wasi it not 
enough to put thefe gentlemen^ in the noviciate of their 
admini^ration, on their guard, and to call upoa them for a 
ftridl enquiry (if not to juflify them in a reprobation of 
tliofe demands without any enquiry at all) that when all 
England, Scotland, and Ireland^ had for years been witnefs 
to theimmenfe fums kid out by the fervants of the com- 
pany in ftocks of all denominations, in the purchafe of 
lands, in the buying afid building of houfes, in the fecuring 
quiet feats in parliament, or in the tumultuous riot of con- 
tefted eledlions,. in wandering throughout the whole range 
' of thofe variegated modes of inventive prodigality ; which 
• fometiriies have excited our wonder, fometimes roufed our 

indignation ^ 



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446 SPEECH p N THE 

indignation ; that after all India wa?. four millions ftill in 
<\eht to t^em^ India in. debt to Mi?i«./ For what? Every 
debt for which an . equivalerjt- of fooie kind or other is not 
given, is on the face of it a fraud. What is the equivalent 
they have given? What equivalent had they to give? 
What are the articles of cqmmerceior the branches of ma- 
nufacture which thofe gentlemen have carried hence to 
enrich India ? What ^re the fciences they beamed out to 
enlighten it? What are the arts they introduced to chearand 
to adorn it ? What are the religious, what the moral inftitu- 
tions they have taught among that people as a guide to life, 
or as a confolation when life is to be no more, that there is an 
eternal debt, a debt ^ ftill paying, ftill to owe,** which muft be 
bound on the prefent generation in india^ and entailed on 
their mortgaged pofterity for ever ? . A d.ebt of millions, in 
favour of a fet of men, whofe names, with few exceptions, 
are either buried . in the obfcurity pf their origin and 
talents, or dragged into light by the enormity of their 
crimes ? . 

In my opinion the courage of the minifter was the moft 
wonderful part of the tranfa^ion, efpecially as he muft 
have read, or rather the right honourable gentleman fays, 
he has read for him, whole volumes upon the fubjecSt, The 
volumes, by the way, are not by. one tenth part fo nu- 
merous as the right honourable gentleman has thought 
proper to pretend, in order to frighten you from enquiry ; 
but in thefe volumes, fuch as they are, the minifter muft 
have found a full authority for a fufpicion (at the very 
leaft) of every thing relative to the great fortunes made at 
Madras. What is that authority ? Why no other than the 
ftanding authority for all the claims which the miniftry has 
thought fit to provide for — the grand debtor — the nabob of 
Arcot himfelf. Hear that prince, ia the: lejter written to 
the court of diredlors, at the precife period, whilft the main 
I body 



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NABOB OF ARGOT'S DEBTS. 447 

bbdy of thefe debts were contracSling. In his letter he ftates 
hlmfelf to be, what undoubtedly he is, a moft competent wit- 
nefs to this point. After fpeaking of the war with Hyder Ali 
in 1768 and 1769, and of other meafures which he cenfures 
(whether right or wrong it fignifies nothing) and into 
which he fays he had been led by the company'is fervants ; 
he proceeds in this manner— *^ If all thefe things were 
•^ againft the real interefts of the company, they are ten 
** thoufand times more againft min^, and againft the prof- 
" perity of my country,, and th^ happinefs of my people ; 
" for your interefts and mine are the fame. What were 
" tbey owing to then f to the private views of a Jew indivi-^ 
*^ ducr/Sy who have enriched tbemf elves at the expence of your 
« influence^ and of my country ; for your fervants HAVE 
«^ NO rHADE IN THIS COUNtRT^, neither do you pay 
" them high wages ^ yet in a few years tbey return to England j. 
** with many lacks of pagodas. How can you or I account for 
•< fuch immerififortunesy acquired in fo Jhort a time^ without 
<* any vifible means of getting themf^ 

When he afked this queftion, which involves its anfwer^ 
it is extraordinary that curiofity (lid not prompt the chan- 
cellor of the exchequer to^ that enquiry which might come 
in vain recommended to him by his own a6t of parliament- 
Does not the nabob of Arcot tell us in fo many words^ that 
there was no fair way of making the enormous- fums feht 
by th^ company's fervants to Engkind ? and do you imagine 
that there was or could be more honefty and good faith in' 
the demands, for what remained behiml in India ? Of what 
nature were the tranfadiions with himfelf ? If you follow 
the train of his information you mnft fee, that if thefe great 
fums were at all lent, it was not property, but fpoil that waW 
Tent ; if not lent^ the tranfacStion was not a contra6l, but a- 
fraixd. Either way, if light enough could not be furnifted* 
to aiithorife a fuE condemnation of thefe demands, they 

ought 



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44S SPEECH ONTHE 

ought to have been left to the parties who beft knew and 
underllood each others proceedings. It was not peceffary 
that the authority of government fliould interpofe in fa- 
vour of claims, whofe very foundation was a defiance of 
that authority, and whofe objedt and end ^as-its entire fub- 
verfion. 

It may be faid that this letter was written by the nabob 
of Arcot in a moody humour, under the influence of fome 
chagrin. Certainly it was ; but it is in fuch humours that 
truth comes out. And when he tells you from his own 
knowledge, what every one muft prefume, from the extreme 
probability of the thing, whether he told it or not, one fuch 
teftimony is worth a thoufand that contradidt that proba- 
bility, when the parties have a better underftanding with 
each other, and when they have a point to carry, that may 
unite them in a common deceit. 

If this body of private claims of debt, real or devifed, were 
a queftion, as it is falfely pretended, between the nabob of 
Arcot as debtor, and Paul Beniield and his afibciates as credi- 
tors, I am fure I fliould give myfelf but little trouble about it. 
If the hoards of oppreflion were the fund for fatisf ying the 
claims of bribery and peculation, who would wifh to inter- 
fere between fuch litigants ? If the demands were confined 
to what might be drawn from the treafures which the com- 
pany's records uniformly affert that the nabob is in poffef- 
lion of; or if he had mines of gold or lilver, or diamonds 
(as we know that he has none) thefe gentlemen might 
break open his hoards, or dig in his mines, without any 
difturbance from me. But the gentlemen on the other fide 
of the houfe know as well as I do, and they dare not contra- 
didi; me, that the nabob of Arcot and his creditors are not 
adverfaries, but collufive parties, and that the whole trarif- 
a(Stion is under a falfe coloi^r and falfe names. The litiga- 

4 tion 



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NABOB OP ARGOT'S DEBTS. 449 

tion is not, nor ever has been, between their rapacity and 
his hoarded riches. No; it is between him and them 
coipbining and confederating on one fide, and the public 
re^atnues, and the miferable inhabitants of a ruined coun- 
tr.3r, on the other. Thefe are the real plaintiffs and the real 
defendants in the fuit. Refufing a (hilling from his hoardsi 
for the fatisfa<Stion of any demand, the nabob of Arcot is 
always ready, nay, he earneflly, and with eagernefs and 
paflion, contends for delivering up to thefe pretended cre- 
ditors his territory and his fubjedis. It is therefore not 
from treafuries and mines, but from the food of your un- 
paid armies, from the blood withheld from the veins, and 
whipt out of the backs of the moft miferable of men, that 
we are to pamper extortion, ufury, and peculation, under 
the falfe names of debtors and creditors of ftate. 

The great patron of thefe creditors (to whofe honour 
they ought to ere(St ftatues) the right honourable gentle- 
man *, in ftating the merits which recommended them to 
his favour, has ranked them under three grand divifions. 
The firft, the creditors of 1767; then the creditors of the 
cavalry loan ; and laftly, the creditors of the loan in 1777. 
Let us examine them, one by one, as they pais in review 
before us. 

The firft of thefe loans, that of 1767, he infiib, has an in- 
difputable claim upon the public juftice. The creditors, 
he affirms, lent their money publicly; they advanced it 
with the exprefs knowledge and approbation of the com- 
pany ; and it was contracted at the moderate intereft of ten 
per cent. In this loan the demand is, according to him, 
not only juft, but meritorious in a very high degree ; and 
one would be inclined to believe he thought fo, becaufe he 
has put it laft in the provifion he has made for thefe claims. 

* Mr. Dundat. 

Vol.. \h 3 M I readily 



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4SO S^T E E G H ON THE 

' I readily admit this debt to ftahd the faireft of thft whole; 
for whatever may be my fufpicions concerhing a part df it, 
I can convi(5t it of nothing worfe than the moft en<»rnwis 
nfury; But I can Convi<St upon the fpot the right hois^-r 
able gentleman, of the moft daring mifreprefentation. in 
every one fa<5t, without any exception, that he has alledged 
in defence of this loan, and of his own conduct withxegard 
to it. I will fhew you that this debt was never contraded 
with the knowledge of the company; that it had not their 
approbation; that they recti ved the firft intelligence of 
it with the utmoft jioffibl* furprize, indignation, and 
alarm. 

So far from being previoufty apprized of the tranfadkion 
from its origin, that it was two years before the court of 
directors obtained any official intelligence of it. " The 
« defalings of the fervants With the nabob wefei concealed 
« frorn the firft, until they were found ont,** (fays Mr. 
Sayer, the company's council) *< by the report of the coun- 
it tj-y^t The prefidency, however, at laft thought propfer to 
fend an official account. Oh this the dire<ftor8 tell them, 
<*> to" your great reproach it has been conc^aied fr0n us. 
*« We cannot but fufpe6l this debt to have had itfr weight 
" in your propofed aggrandizement ofMabomedAH [thena- 
^ bob of Arcot] ; but whether it has or has not, certain it 
«* is, you are guilty of an high breach of duty in concealing 
** it from us.** 

Thefe expreffions, concerhing the grodnd of the tranfac- 
tion, its efFe<Jt, and its clandefline nature, are in the letters, 
bearing date March 17, 1769. After receiving a more full 
account on the 23d March, 1770, they ftate, that " Meffrs. 
*< Jolxn Pybus, John Call, and James Bourchier, as truftees 
*' for theinfelves and others of the nabob's private creditors, 
** had proved a deed of affignment upon the nabob and his 

• « fon 



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NABOBCOF ARCOT'ar DEBTS. 451 

« fon of FIFTEEN diftriasi of th^ nabob's couatry^ th« 
*< revenues of which- yielded^. in time of peace, eight lacks 
*^ of pagodas [jT. 32«^ocO) fterling] annually ; an4 like wife 
*^ an.affignment of the yearly tribute paid the nabob from 
^^ the rajah of Tanjore, amounting to four lacks of rupees 
*^ [jC^ 4C*>6oo].'? The territorial revenue, at that time pof- 
feffed by thefe gentlemen, without the knowledge or con- 
fent of their mafttersv amounted to three hundred and fixty 
thoufand pounds fteriidg annually. They were making 
rapid ftrides to the entire ppfleffion of the country, when 
the diteftors, whom the- right honourable gentleman ftates 
as having authorifeil thefe proceeding8,.were kept in fuch 
profound ignorance <)f this royal acquifition of territorial 
revenue by their fervants, that in the fame letter they fay> 
^ this affignment was obtained by three x>f the members of 
^^ your boards in January 1767, yet we do not find the leqfi 
^* trace of it upon your confultations, until Auguft 1768, nor 
*^ do any of your letters to us afibrd any information relative 
*^ ta fuch tranfadlions, fill the ift of November 1768. By 
<* your laft letters of the 8th of May 1769, you bring the 
^* whole proceedings to light in one view.*^ 

As to the previous knowledge of the company, and its 
Tan6lion to the debts, you fee that this aflertion of that 
knowledge is utterly unfounded. But did the diredloiis 
approve of it, and ratify the tranfa<5tion when it was known? 
The very reverfe. On the fame 3d of March,' the diredtors de- 
clare, *^ upon an impartial examination of the whole condudt 
" of our late governor and council of Fort George (Madras) 
^* and on the fuUeft confideration, that the faid govedior 
" and council have, in notorious violation oftbe^truft Kpofed 
^ in themj manifeftly preferred the interejl of private indi-- 
^* viduals to that of the company^ in permitting the affignment 
*^ of the revenues of certain valuable dittridts, to a very large 

3M 2 ^< amount, 



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45a SPEECH ON THE 

** amotinty from the nabob to individuals'^— and then highly 
aggravating their crimes, they add ** we order and direA 
*< that you do examine, in the moft impartial manner, all 
•* the above-mentioned tranfadtions ; and that youpuni/bhj 
** fufpenfion, degradation, difmiffion, or otherwiie, as to 
" you (hall feem meet, all and every fiich fervant or fer- 
«* vants of the company, who may by you be found guilty 
** of any of the above offences.'* ** We had (fay the direc- 
*< tors) the mortification to find that the fervants of the 
« company, who had been raijed^ fupportid^ and owed their 
<* prefent opulence to the advantages gained in fuch fervice^ 
<* have in this inftance moil unfaithfully betrayed their truft, 
•* abandoned the company's intereft, and prqftituted its in- 
•< fluence to accompliih the purpofes of individuals^ wbiffi 
<* the inter ejl of the company is almoji wboUy negleSled^ and 
** payment to us rendered extremely precarious." Here 
then is the rock of approbation of the court of dire^ors, od 
which the right honourable gentleman fays this debt was 
founded. Any member, Mr. Speaker, who ihould come 
into the houfe, on my reading this fentence of condemna- 
tion of the court of dire^rs againft their unfaithful fer- 
vants, might well imagine that he had heard an harlh, 
fevere, unqualified inve<aive againft the prefent minifterial 
board of control. So exa^ly do the proceedings of the 
patrons of this abufe tally with thofe of the actors in it, that 
the expreffions ufed in the condemnation of the one, may 
ferve for the reprobation of the other, without the change 
of a word. 

To read you all the expreflions of wrath and indignation 
fulminated in this difpatch againft the meritorious credi«)is 
of the right honourable gentleman, who according to him 
have been fo fully approved by the company, would be to 
read the whole. 

The 



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NABOB OF ARGOT'S DEBTS. 453 

The right hcxiourable gentleman, with an addrefs pecu- 
liar to himfelf) every now and then Aides in the prefidency 
of Madras, as fynonimous to the company. That the prefi- 
dency did approve the debt, is certain. But the right 
honourable gentleman, as prudent in fuppreffing, as ikilfiil 
in bringing forward his matter, has not chofen to tell you 
that the prefidency were the very perfons guilty of coa- 
tra^ing this loan; creditors themfelves, and agents and 
truftees for all the other creditors. For this the court of 
directors accufe them of breach of truft ; and for this the 
right honourable gentleman confiders them as perfed^ly 
good authority for thofe claims. It is pleafant to hear a 
gentleman of the law quote the approbation of creditors as 
an authority for their own debt. 

How they came to contra<St the debt to themfelves, how 
they came to a^ as agents for thofe whom they ought to 
have controlled, is for your enquiry. The policy of this 
debt was announced to the tourt of dire<5tors, by the very 
perfons concerned in creating it. ** Till very lately,** (fay 
the prefidency) << the nabob placed his dependence on the 
** company. Now he has been taught by ill-advifers, 
<< that an intereft out of doors may ftand him in good ftead. 
<* He has been made to believe that bis private creditors 
" have power and intereft to over-rule the court of directors *J* 
The nabob was not mifinformed. The private creditors 
inftantly qualified a vaft number of votes; and having made 
themfelves mailers of the court of proprietors, as well as ex- 

• For llie dtreats of tlie creditors, and total fubverfion of dw authority of the ctxnpany 
in finrour of die nabob's power> and the encreafe thereby of his evil difpolitions, and die 
great derangement of aU public conoemS} fee feleA committee Fort St. George's Ietten> 
sift November i769»][and January 31ft, 1770; September ii» 1772. And governor 
Bourchier'ft letters to the nabob of Arco^ 21ft Noveaib«r 1769, and December tj^ 
1769. 

tending 



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454 SPEECH ON \ THE- 

tending a powerful cabal ia^her lilies as important^ l&ey 
fo completely overturned the authority: af th^ court o£ di- 
rectors at home and afaroad^ that this poor baffled govern" 
ment was foon obliged to lower its tone, it was glad to be 
admitted into paitnerfhip with its own fervants. The court 
of dire<aors eftabliftiing the debt which they had reprobated 
as a breach of truft, and which was .planned for the fubver- 
lion of their authority, fettled its payments on a par with 
thofe of the public ; and even fo, were not able to ob- 
tain peace or even equality in their demands* All the conr 
fequences lay in a regular and irteiiftible tirain. By cm- 
ploying their influence for the recovery of tshis debt, their 
orders, iflued in the fame breath, againfkJcreating new.debts, 
only animated the ftrong defires of their fervants to this pro- 
hibited prolific fport, and it foon produced a fwarm of fens 
and daughters, not in the leaft degenerated. from the virtue 
of their parents.. i . 

From that moment, the authority of thercourt of diredtorsi 
expired in the Garnatic, and every whbre clfe. *f Ev«ry 
^^ man," fays the prefidency, " who oppofes the govem- 
<^ ment and its meafurcs, finds an imniediate xxiuntenance 
" from the nabob ; even our difcarded bfiicers,. howiever 
<< unworthy, are received into the niabob's fervice*." It 
was indeed a matter of no wonderful fagacity to determine 
whether the court of directors, with their miferable falaries to 
their fervants, of four or five hundred po\!mds a year, or the 
diftributor of millions, was moft likely to be obeyed. It 
was an invention beyond the imagination of all the fpecu- 

♦ ** He [the nabob] is in a great degree the caufc of our prefent inability ; by diverting 
« the revenues of the Camatic through private channels.** — «< Even diis Pelhcufli (the 
•* Tanjore tribute] circumftanced as he and we are, he his affigned over to others »^ 
« now/et themfehes in offafition to the company^** Confiiltadons, OAobet IT, 1 769, on 
the 12th communicated to the nabob. 

latifts 



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NABOB OF AliCOT's DEBTS, 455 

latifts of owr fpeculating age> to fee a government quietly- 
fettled in xwic and the feme town, compofed of two diftindk 
members'; one to pay fcantily for obedience, and the other 
to bribe high for rebellion and revolt. 

The next thing which recommends this particular debt 
to the right honourable gentleman, is, it feems, the mode- 
rate, intereft of ten per cent. It would be loft labour to ob- 
ferve on this aflertion. The Nibob, in a long aix}logetic 
letter ♦ for the tranfadtion between him and the body of the 
creditors, ftates^ the fadt, as I ihall ftate it to you. In the 
accumulation of this debt, tjie firft intereft paid was from 
thirty, to thirty-(fix^rr^»/. it was then brought down to 
tw'entyrfive/^^/* d^^/i/* at length :it .was reduced to twenty; 
and there k found its reft* During the whole procefs, as 
cften as any of thefe monflrous iaterefts fell into an arrear 
^nto^ which they were <cpritinually falling) the arrear, form- 
ed iato a new capital t. Was. added to the okl, and the fame 
imeieft of twenty />^rrfi«[/.:accrued upon both* The com- 
pany^ having gok fame fcent of tljie enormous ufury which 
'prevailed at Madras, thought it neceflkry to interfere, and 
to order aH interefts to be lowered to ten per cent. This or- 
der, which contained no exception, though it by no means 
pointed particularly to this clafs of debts, came like a thun- 
deDKJbp on the Nabob; He confidered his political credit 
as ruined; but to find a remedy to this unexpedted evil, he 

..• Nabpb!$ letter to Governor PaUc. Papers publuhed by the direSors.in 17755 and 
papers printed by the. fame authority, I78x« 

. t 5qC Jiapers pru^ted by-order of a gencial court in 1780, pi. 22jr, and p, 224, as alfo 
.lUbob's l^ter to .Goyerx^or Dupre, X9th July 1771, " I have ttkeq up loans by which I 
** have fuilered a lofs of upwards of a crore of pagodas [four million fterlingj by intereji on 
« an heavy interejij'* — Letter 15th January, 1772, " Notwithftanding I have taken much. 
^ trouble, and'have made many payments to my editors, yet the load of my debt, ivhich 
^ hiwntfo greats by inufeft mi comioutii intnej^^ is notckaied.." . 

3 •■ agaiiv . 



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456 SPEEdH ON THE 

again added to the old prindpal twenty per cent, intereft 
accruing for the laft year. Thus a new fund was formed; 
and it was on that accumulation of various principals, and 
intereils heaped upon interefts, not on the fum originally 
lent, as the right honourable gentleman would make yoa 
believe, that ten per cent, was fettled on the whole. 

When you confider the enormity of the intereft at whidi 
thefe debts were contra£ted, and the feveral interefts added 
to the principal, I believe you will not think me fo fceptical, 
if I fliould doubt, whether for this debt of J[, 880,000, the 
nabob ever faw £. 100,600 in real money. The right ho- 
nourable gentleman fufpe^ng,. with all his abfolute domi- 
nion over faA, that he never will be able to defend even this 
venerable patriarchal job, though fandiified by its numerous 
ifTue, and hoary with prefcriptive years, has recourfe to re- 
crimination, the laft refourfe of guilt. He fays that this 
loan of 1767 was provided for in Mr. Fox*s India bill; and 
judging of others by his own nature and principles^ he more 
than iniinuates, that this proviiion was made, not from any 
fenfe of merit in the claim, but from partiality to General 
Smith, a proprietor, and an agent for that debt. If partia- 
lity could have had any weight againft juftice and policy, 
with the then minifters and their friends. General Smith 
had titles to it. But the right honourable gentleman knows 
as well as I do, that General Smith was very far firom look- 
ing on himfelf as partially treated in the arrangements of 
that time ; indeed what man dared to hope for private par- 
tiality in that facred plan for relief to nations ? 

It is not neceflary that the right honourable gentleman 
fhould farcaftically call that time to our recollection. Well 
do I remember every circumftance of that memorable pe- 
riod. God forbid I ihould forget it. O illuftrious di%race ! 
O \i<Sto.Ious defeat ! may your memorial be frefli and new 
4 to 



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NABOB OF ARGOT'S DEBTS. 457 

to the lateft generations ! May the day of that generous con- 
flicfl be ftamped in characSters never to be cancelled or worn 
out from the records of time ! Let no man hear of us, who 
ihall not hear that in a ftruggle againft the intrigues of 
courts, and the perfidious levity of the multitude, we fell ir^ 
the caufe of honour, in the caufe of our country, in the 
caufe of human nature itfelf ! But if fortune fliould be as 
powerful over fame, as (he has been prevalent over virtue, 
at lead our confcience is beyond her jurifdidtion. My poor 
fhare in the fupport of that great meafure, no nian Ihall ra- 
vifti from me. It Ihall be fafely lodged in the fan6tuary of 
my heart; never, never to be torn from thence, but with 
thofe holds that grapple it to life. 

I fay, I well remember that bill, and every one of its ho^ 
neft and its wife provifions. It is not true that this debt 
was ever protedted or inforced, or any revenue whatfoever 
fet apart for it. It was left in that bill juft where it flood ; 
to be paid or not to be paid out of the nabob's private trea- 
fures, according to his own difcretion. The company had 
adually given it their fandlion ; though always relying for 
its validity on the fole fecurity of the faith of him ^ w^ho 
without their knowledge or confent entered into the original 
obligation. It had no other fandlion ; it ought to have had 
no other. So far was Mr. Fox's bill from providing funds 
for it, as this miniftry have wickedly done for this, and for 
ten times worfe tranfadions, out of the public eftate, that an 
exprefs claufe immediately preceded, pofitively forbidding 
any Britifti fubjedt from receiving affignments upon any part 
of the territorial revenue, on any pretence whatfoever +. 

You recoUedl, Mr. Speaker, that the chancellor of the ex- 
chequer ftrongly profefled to retain every part of Mr. Fox's 
bill, which was intended to prevent abufe; but in bis India 

♦ The n^ob of Arcot. f Appendix N*^ 3. 

Vol. II. 3 N bill, 



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458 SPEECH ON THE 

bill, which (let me do juftice) is as able and fkilful a per* 
formance for its own purpofes, as ever iffued from the wit of 
man, premeditating this iniquity— boc ipfum ut Jirueret Tro- 
jamque aperiret Achivis^ expunged this effential claufe, broke 
down the fence which was raifed to cover the public pro- 
perty againft the rapacity of his partizans, and thus levelling 
every obftrudtion, he made a firm, broad, highway for fin 
and death, for ufury and opprefEon, to renew their ravages 
throughout the devoted revenues of the Garnatic. 

The tenor, the policy, and the confequences of this debt 
of 1767, are, in the eyes of miniftry, fo excellent, that its 
merits are irrefiftible ; and it takes the lead to give credit and 
countenance to all the reft. Along with this chofen body 
of heavy-armed infantry, and to fupport it, in the line, the 
right honourable gentleman has ftationed his corps of black 
cavalry. If there be any advantage between this debt and 
that of 1769, according to him the cavalry debt has it. It is 
not a fubjedt of defence ; it is a theme of panegyric. Liften 
to the right honourable gentleman, and you will find it was 
contracted to fave the country ; to prevent mutiny in ar- 
mies ; to introduce oeconomy in revenues ; and for all thefe 
honourable purpofes, it originated at the exprefs defire, and 
by the reprefentative authority of the company itfelf. 

Firft, let me fay a word to the authority. This debt was 
contracted not by the authority of the company, not by its 
reprefentatives (as the right honourable gentleman has the 
unparalleled confidence to affert) but in the ever-memorable 
period of 1777, by the ufurped power of thofe who rebel- 
lioufly, in conjundtion with the nabob of Arcot, had over- 
turned the lawful government of Madras. For that rebel- 
lion, this houfe unanimoully directed a public profecution* 
The delinquents, after they had fubverted government, in 
order to make to themfelves a party to fupport them in their 

power, 



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NABOB OF ARGOT'S DEBTS. 459 

power, are univerfally known to have dealt jobs about to the 
right and to the left^ and to any who were willing to receive 
them. This ufurpation, which the right honourable gen- 
tleman well knows, was brought about by and for the great 
niafs of thefe pretended debts, is the authority which is fet 
up by him to reprefent the company ; to reprefent that com* 
pany which from the firft moment of their hearing of this 
corrupt and fraudulent tranfadtion, to this hour, have uni- 
formly difowned and difavowed it. 

So much for the authority. As to the fadts, partly true, 
and partly colourable, as they ftand recorded, they are in 
fubftance thefe. — ^The nabob of Arcot, as foon as he had 
thrown off the fuperiority of this country by means of thefe 
creditors, kept up a great army which he never paid. Of 
courfe, his foldiers were generally in a ftate of mutiny *\ 
The ufurping council fay that they laboured hard with their 
mailer the nabob, to perfuade him to reduce thefe mutinous 
and ufelefs troops. He confented ; but as ufual, pleaded in- 
ability to pay them their arrears. Here was a difficulty. 
The nabob had no money; the company had no money; 
every public fupply was empty. But there was pne refource 
which no feafon has ever yet dried up iti that climate. The 
Joucars were at hand; that is, private Englifh money-jobbers 
offered their affiftance. Meffieurs Taylor, Majendie and 
Call, propofed to advance the fmall fum of ^. 160,000 to pay 
off the habob's black cavalfy, provided the company's autho- 
rity was given for theit loan. This was the great point of 
policy always aimed at, and purfued through a hundred de- 
vices, by the fervants at Madras. The prefidency, who 
themfelves had no authority for the functions they prefumed 
to exercife, very readily gave the fandlion of the com- 
pafiy, to thdfe fervants who knew that the company, whofe 

* See Mr. Dundas's ift» 2d, and 3d Reports. 

3 N a fandion 



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46o SPEECH ON THE 

fan<Stion was demanded, had poJdtively prohibited all fuch 
tranfadtions. 

However, fo far as the reality of the dealing goes, all is 
hitherto fair and plaufible ; and here the right honourable 
gentleman concludes, with commendable prudence, his ac- 
count of the bufinefs. But here it is I ftiall beg leave to 
commence my fupplement : for the gentleman's difcreetmo- 
tlefty has led him to cut the thread of the ftory fomewhat 
abruptly. One of the moft eflential parties is quite forgot- 
ten. Why fliould the epifode of the poor nabob be omit- 
ted ? When that prince chufes it, no body can tell his ftory 
better. Excufe me, if I apply again to my book, and give it 
you from the firft hand ; from the nabob himfelf. 

** Mr. Stratton became acquainted with this, and got Mr. 
<* Taylor and others to lend me four lacks of pagodas to- 
*« wards difcharging the arrears of pay of my troops. Upon 
** this, I wrote a letter of thanks to Mr. Stratton ; and upoa 
** the faith of this money being paid immediately, I ordered 
** many of my troops to be difcharged by a certain day, and 
«« leflened the number of my fervants. Mr. Taylor, &c. 
** fome time after acquainted me, that they had no ready 
** money, but they would grant teeps payable in four 
« months. This aftoniflhed me ; for I did not know what 
*' might happen, when the fepoys were difmifled from my 
** fervice. I begged of Mr. Taylor and the others to pay 
** this fum to the officers of my regiments at the time they 
^' mentioned ; and defired the officers, at the fame time, to 
^< pacify and perfuade the men belonging to them, that 
« their pay would be given to them af the end of four 
<* months ; and that till thofe arrears were difcharged, their 
** pay ihould be continued to them. TCwo years are nearly 
« expired fince that time, but Mr. Taylor has not yet entirely 
^ difcharged the arrears of thofe troops, and I am obliged to 
5 *< continue 



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NABOB OF ARGOT'S DEBTS. 461 

^^ continue their pay from that time till this. I hoped to 
^^ have been able, by this expedient, to have leffened the 
^* number of my troops, and difcharge the arrears due to 
^ them, confidering th€ trifle of intereft to Mr. Taylor, and 
^^ the others, as no great matter ; but inftead of this, / am 
** oppreffed with the durtben of pay due totbofe troops % and 
** the intereft^ which is going on to Mr. Taylor from the day the 
<^ teeps were granted to him!^ What I have read to you is 
an extra<a of a letter from the nabob of the Garnatic to Go- 
vernor Rumbold, dated the 22d, and received the 24tlx o£ 
March 1779 *. 

Suppofe his highnefs not to be well broken in to things of 
this kind, it muft indeed furprife fo known and eftablifhed 
a bond-vender, as the nabob of Arcot, one who keeps him- 
fclf the largeft bond warehoufe in the world, to find that he 
was now to receive in kind ; not to take money for his obli- 
gations, but to give his bond in exchange for the bond of 
Meflieurs Taylor, Majendie and Gall,, and to pay befides, a 
good fmart intereft, legally la per cent. \\xx reality perhaps 
twenty, or twenty-four />^ centJ\ for this exchange of paper. 
But his troops were not to be fo paid, or fo difbanded. They 
wanted bread, and could not live by cutting and lliuflUng of 
bonds.. The nabob ftill kept the troops in fervice^ aqd was 
obliged to continue,, as you have feen,^ the whole expence, 
to exonerate himfelf from which he became indebted, to the 
foucars. 

Had it ftood here, the tranfadtion would have been of the 
moft audacious drain of fraud and ufury, perhaps ever be- 
fore difcovered, whatever might have been pradifed and 
concealed. Hut the fame authority (I, mean the nabob's) 
brings before you fomething if poflible more, ftriking. He 
ftates, that for this their paper, he immediately handed ovpf; 

* Sec fitfther Confultations, 3d February 1778. 

to 



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462 SPEECH ON THE 

to thefe gentlemen, fomething very different from paper; 
that is, the receipt of a territorial revenue, of which it feems 
they continued as long in poffeflion as the nabob himfelf 
continued in pofleflion of any thing. Their payments 
therefore not being to commence before the end of four 
months, and not being compleated in two years, it muft be 
prefumed (unlefs they proved the contrary) that their pay- 
ments to the nabob were made out of the revenues they had 
received from his affignment. Thus they condefcend to 
accumulate a debt of £. 160,000, with an intereft of 12 per 
cent, in compenfation for a lingering payment to the nabob 
of jT* 160,000 of his own money. 

Still we have not the whole : about two years after the 
affignment of thofe territorial revenues to thefe gentlemen, 
the nabob receives a remonftrance from his chief manager, 
in a principal province, of which this is the tenor— ^^ The 
** entire revenue of thofe diftrid;s is by your highnefs' order 
^* fet apart to difchargc the tuncaws [affignments] granted 
<< to the Europeans. The gomaftahs [agents] of Mr. Taylor, 
^< to Mr. De Fries, are there in order to collect thefe tun- 
^V caws; and as they receive ^7// the revenue that is colieftcd, 
^* your highnefs's troops havej^c^^^ or eight months pay due^ 
•^< which they cannot receive, and are thereby reduced to 
^ the greateft diftrsfs. In fucb times^ it is highly neceflary 
<< to provide for the fuftenance of the troops that they 
^^ may be ready to exert themfelves in the fervicc of your 
<< highnefs.^ 

Here, Sir, you fee how thefe caufes and effedts adt upon 
one another. One body of troops mutinies for want of 
pay; a debt is contracted to pay them ; and they ftiU remain 
unpaid. A territory dcftined to pay other troops, is aflSgned 
for this debt ; and thefe other troops fall into the fame ftate 
of indigence and mutiny with the firiS:. Bond is paid by 

bond; 



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NABOB OF ARGOT'S DEBTS. 463 

bond; arrear is turned into new arrear; iifury engenders 
new ufury ; mutiny fufpended in one quarter, ftarts up in 
another ; until all the revenues, and ail the eftablifhments 
are entangled into one inextricable knot of confulion, from 
which they are only difengaged by being entirely deftroyed. 
In that ftate of confulion, in a very few months after the 
date of the memorial I have jufl read to you, things were 
found, when the nabob's troops, famiflied to feed Englifli 
foucars, inftead of defending the country, joined the in- 
vaders, and deferted in entire bodies to Hyder Ali '^. 

The manner in which this tranfadtion was carried on, 
Ihews that good examples are not eafily forgot, efpecially 
by thofe who are bred in a great fchool. One of thofe 
fplendid examples, give me leave to mention at a fomewhat 
more early period, becaufe one fraud furnifhes light to the 
difcovery of another, and fo on, until the whole fecret of 
myfterious iniquity burfts upon you in a blaze of detedlion^ 
The paper I fhall read you, is not on record. If you 
pleafe, you may take it on my word. It is a letter written 
from one of undoubted information in Madras, to Sir John? 
Clavering, defcribing the practice that prevailed there, whilft 
the company's allies were under fale, during the time of 
Governor Winch's adminiftration. 

" — One mode'' fays Clavering's correfpondent *^ of 
^^ amaffing money at the nabob's coft is curious. He is 
*^ generaUy in arrears to the company. Here the governor^ 
^ being cafli-keeper, is generally on good terms with 
** the banker, who manages matters thus r The gover- 
^* nor preffes the nabob for the balance due from him ;: 
*^ the nabob flies to his banker for relief; the banker en- 
^ gages to pay the money, and grants his notes accord-? 

* Mr. Dundas's ift Report, p. 26, 29, and Appendix N^ 2, 10, rS, for the mutinous 
ftate and defertion of the nabob's troops for want of pay. See alfo Report 4, of the fame 
committee* 

4 " ingly* 



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464 SPEECH ON THE 

" ingly, which he puts in the cafti-book as ready money ; 
^^ the nabob pays him an intereft for it at two and three per 
^* cent, per menfem^ till the tunkaws he grants on the parti- 
^* cular diftricSts for it are paid. Matters in the mean time 
" are fo managed, that there is no call for this money for 
^* the company's fervice, till the tunkaws become due. By 
*' this means not a cafli is advanced by the banker, though 
^* he receives a heavy intereft from the nabob, which is 
^^ divided as lawful fpoiL" 

Here, Mr. Speaker, you have the whole art and myftery, 
the true free-mafon fecret of the profeffion of foucaring ; 
by which a few innocent, inexperienced young Engliftimen, 
fuch as Mr. Paul Benfield, for inftance, without property 
upon which any one would lend to themfelves a fingle Ihil- 
ling, are enabled at once to take provinces in mortgage, to 
make princes their debtors, and to become creditors for 
millions. 

But it feems the right honourable gentleman's favourite 
foucar cavalry, have proved the payment before the mayor's 
court at Madras ! Have they fo ? Why then defraud our 
anxiety and their charadlers of that proof? Is it not enough 
that the charges which I have laid before you^ have ftood 
on record againft thefe poor injured gentlemen for eight 
years ? Is it not enough that they are in print by the orders 
of the Eaft India company for five years? After thefe gentle- 
men have borne all the odium of this publication, and all the 
indignation of the directors, with fuch unexampled equani- 
mity, now that they are at length ftimulated into feeling, 
are you to deny them their juft relief? But will the right 
honourable gentleman be pleafed to tell us, how they came 
not to give this fatisfadtion to the court of diredtors, their 
lawful mifters, during all the eight years of this litigated 
' ii:n ? Were they not bound, by every tie that caa bind 

man^ 



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NABOB OF ARGOT'S DEBTS. 465 

man, to give them this fatisfadion ? This day, for the firft 
time, we hear of the proofs. But when were thefc proofs 
offered ? In what caufe ? Who were the parties ? Who in- 
fpe£ted ? Who contefted this belated account ? Let us fee 
fomething to opjxjfe to the body of record which appears 
againft them. The mayor's court ! the mayor's court ! 
Pleafant ! Does not the honourable gentleman know, that 
the iirft corps of creditors (the creditors of 1767) Hated it 
as a fort of hardfliip to them, that they could not have 
juftice at Madras, from the impoflibility of their fupporting 
their claims in the mayor's court. Why ? becaufe, fay they, 
the members of that court were themfelves creditors, and 
therefore could not fit as judges '^. Are we ripe to fay that 
no creditor under fimilar circumftances was member of the 
court, when the payment which is the ground of this ca- 
valry debt was put in proof + ? Nay, are we not in a manner 
compelled to conclude, that the court was fo conftituted, 
when we know there is fcarcely a man in Madras, who 
has not fome participation in thefe tranfadlions ? It is a 
ftiame to hear fuch proofs mentioned, inftead of the honeft 
vigorous fcrutiny which the circumftances of fuch an affair 
fo indifpenfably calls for. 

But his majefty's minifters, indulgent enough to other 
fcrutinies, have not been fatisfied with authorizing the pay- 
ment of this demand without fuch enquiry as the adt has 

' * Memorial from the creditors to the governor and council, 22d January, 1770. 

f In the year 1778, Mn James Call, one of the proprietors of this fpecific debt, was 
a£hially mayor. Appendix to 2d Report of Mr. Dundas's committee, N^ 65. — The only 
proof which appeared on the enquiry inftituted in the general court of 1781, was an aiS- 
davit of the lenders themfelves^ depofmg (what nobody ever denied) that they had engaged 
and agreed to pay— not that they badpdld the fum of £. 1 60,000. This was two years 
after the traniaflion ; and the affidavit is made before George Prodor, mayor, an attorney, 
for certain of the old creditors. Proceedings of the prefident and council of Fort Saint 
George, 22d February, 1779- 

Vol. II. 3 O prefcribed ; 



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466 SPEECH ON THE 

prefcribed ; but they have added the arrear of twelve per 
cent, intereft, from the year 1777 to the year 1784, to make 
a new capital, railing thereby 160 to jC» 294>ooo. Then 
they charge a new twelve per cent, on the whole from that 
period, for a tranfa(5lion, in which it will be a miracle if a 
fingle penny will be ever found really advanced from the 
private ftock of the pretended creditors. 

In this manner, and at fuch an intereft, the minifters 
have thought proper to difpofe of J[. 294,000 of the public 
revenues, for what is called the cavalry loan. After dif- 
patching this, the right honourable gentleman leads to bat- 
tle his laft grand divifion, the confolidated debt of 1777. But 
having exhaufted all his panegyric on the two firft, he has 
nothing at all to fay in favour of the laft. On the contrary, 
he admits that it was contracted in defiance of the company's 
orders, without even the pretended fahftion of any pre- 
tended reprefentatives. Nobody, indeed, has yet been 
found hardy enough to ftand forth avowedly in its defence. 
But it is little to the credit of the age, that what has not 
plaulibility enough to find an advocate, has influence enough 
to obtain a protedtor. Could any man expe<St to find that 
protestor any where? But what muft every man think, 
when he finds that protestor in the chairman of the com- 
mittee of fecrecy ♦, who had publiflied to the houfe, and to 
the world, the fadts that condemn thefe debts — the orders 
that forbid the incurring of them — the dreadful conle- 
quences which attended them. Even, in his official letter, 
when he tramples on his parliamentary report, y«t his ge- 
neral language is the fame. Read the preface to this part 
of the minifterial arrangement, and you, would imagine that 
this debt was to be crufhed, with all tKe wd^t of indig- 
nation which could £aU from a vigilant guardian of the 

* Right hoaouraUe Henry Dundas. 

public 



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NABOB OF ARGOT'S DEBTS. 467 

public treafury* upon thofe who attempted to rob it. What 
muft be felt by every man who has feeUng, when, after fuch 
a thundering preamble of condemnation, this debt is or- 
dered to be paid without any fort of enquiry into its authen- 
ticity ? without a iingle flep taken to fettle even the amount 
of the demand ? without an attempt fo much as to afcertain 
the real perfons claiming a fum, which rifes in the accounts 
from one million three hundred thoufand pound fterling to 
two million four hundred thoufand pound principal mo- 
ney « ? without an attempt made to afcertain the pro- 
prietors, of whom no lift has ever yet been laid before the 
court of direiStors ; of proprietors who are known to be in a 
coUufive ihuffle, by which they never appear to be the 
fame in any two Ms, handed about for their own particu- 
lar purpofes ? 

My honourable inend who made you the motion, has 
fuffidently expofed the nature of this debt. He has dated 
to you that its own agents in the year 1781, in the urange- 
ment tbey propofed to make at Calcutta, were fatisfied to 
have twenty-five per cent, at once ftruck off from the capital 
of a great part of this debt ; and prayed to have a provifion 
made for this reduced principal, without any intereft at alL 
This was an arrangement of their own, an arrangement 
made by thofe who beft knew the true conftitntion of their 
own debt ; who knew how little favour it merited f , and 

how 

* Appendix to the 4th ireportof Mr. Dundas's committee, N<> 15. 

f <* No fenfe of the oommon danger, in cafe of a war, can prevail on him [the nabo>(|^l^ 
Aicoe] to fitful the company widiiHiat is abibtutely neceflary to aflemUe anarmjr, though 
k it bejvnd a doubly that non^ to a large amount is now hoarded up in his coSen at 
Chepauk ; and tunkaws are granted to m£viduab upon feme of his moft vabtobU ctwOriei, 
ht payment of part of thofe debts which be has contracted, and which ctrUunly will not 
tanr in^effim, as tuithtr deitar tr ereHters have ever bad the etnfident* to fiAmt the acctunU 
(»Mir«r«ffi0M<»«^diou^the7cxprefledawi(h to cooMdate the debts under theaufpices 

30a of 



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468 SPEECH ON THE 

how little hopes they had to find any perfons in authority 
abandoned enough to fupport it as it flood. 

But what corrupt men, in the fond imaginations of a fan- 
guine avarice, had not the confidence to propofe, they have 
found a chancellor of the exchequer in England hardy 
enough to undertake for them. He has cheered their 
drooping fpirits. He has thanked the peculators for not 
defpairing of their commonwealth. He has told them they 
were 'too modeft. He has replaced the twenty-five per cent, 
which, in order to lighten themfelves, they had abandoned 
in their confcious terror. Inftead of cutting off the intereft, 
as they had themfelves confented to do, with the fourth of 
the capita], he has added the whole growth of fovir years 
ufury of twelve per cent, to the firft overgrown principal ; 
and has again grafted on this meliorated flock a perpetual 
annuity of fix per cent, to take place from the year 1781. 
Let no man hereafter talk of the decaying energies of na- 
ture. All the adts and monuments in the records of pecu- 
lation; the confolidated corruption of ages; the patterns of 
exemplary plunder in the heroic times of Roman iniquity, 
never equalled the gigantic corruption of this fingle z6i^ 
Never did Nero, in all the infolent prodigality of defpotifm, 
deal out to his praetorian guards a donation fit to be named 
with the largefs fhowered down by the bounty of our chan- 
cellor of the exchequer on the faithful .band of his Indian 
fepoys. 

The right honourable gentleman* lets you freely and 
voluntarily into the whole tranfadlion. So perfedlly has his 
conduct confounded his underflanding, that he fairly tells 
you, that through the courfe of the whole b^ifinefs he has 

of diis government, s^eeably to a plan they had fohned.^' Madras Confiittati6n$, 20Cli 
July 1778. Mr. Dundas's Appendix to 2d Report, 143, Sec alfo laft Apjpcndlx to ditto 
Report, N« 376 B. 

* Mr* Dundas. 

never 



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NABOB OF ARCOT^s DEBTS. 469 

never conferred with any bat the agents of the pretended 
creditors. After this, do you want more to eftablilh a fe- 
cret nnderftanding with the parties ? to fix, beyond a doubt,, 
their coUufion and participation in^a common: fraud ? 

If this were not enough, he has fiirnifhed you with other 
prefumptions that are not to be fliaken. It is one of the 
known indications of guilt to ftagger and prevaricate in a 
ftory ; and to vary in the motives that are afligned to con- 
du6l. Try thefe minifters by this rule. In their official 
difpatch, they tell the prefidency of Madras, that they have 
eftablifhed th^ debt for two reafons; firft, becaufe the 
nabob (the party indebted) does not difpute it; fecondly,^ 
becaufe it is mifchievous to keep it longer afloat ; and that 
the payment of the European creditors will promote circur- 
lation in the country. Thefe t\ya motives (for the plaincft 
reafons in the world) the right honourable gentleman has 
this day thought fit totally to abandon. In the firft place, he 
rejedts the authority of the nabob of Arcot. It would indeed 
be pleafant to fee him adhere to this exploded teftimony. 
He next, upon grounds equally folid, abandons the benefits 
of that circulation, which was to be produced by drawing 
out all the juices of the body.. Laying afide, or forgetting 
thefe pretences of his difpatch, he has }uft now aflTumed a 
principle totally different, but to the full as extraordinary^ 
He proceeds upon a fuppofition, that many of the claims 
may be ficSlitious. He then finds, that in a cafe where many 
valid and many fraudulent claims are blended together, the 
belt courfe for their difcrimination is indifcriminately to 
eftablifh them aU. He trufts (I fuppofe) as there may not 
be a fund fufficient for every defcription of creditors, that 
the beft warranted claimants will exert themfelves in bring- 
ing to light thofe debts which will not bear an enquiry. What 
he, will not do himfelf, he is perfuaded will be done by 
X others;. 



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470 SPEECH ON THE 

others ; and for this purpofe he leaves to any perfim a ge- 
neral power of excepting to the debt. This total diange of 
language, and prevarication in principle^ is enough, if itfiood 
alone, to fix the prefumption of unfair deealing. His dif- 
patch affigns motives of policy, concord, trade, and circula- 
tion. His fpeech proclaims difan'd and litigations; and 
propofes, as the ultimate end, detedtion. 

But he may Ihift his reafons, and wind, and turn as he 
will, confufion waits him at all his doubles. Who will un- 
dertake this dete6tion ? Will the nabob ? But the right 
honourable gentleman has himfelf this moment told us, 
that no prince of the country can by any motive be pre- 
vailed upon to difcover any fraud that is pra£tifed upon him 
by the company's fervants. He fays what, (with the ex- 
ception of the complaint againft the cavalry loan) all the 
world knows to be true ; and without that prince's concur- 
rence, what evidence can be had of the fraud of any the 
fmallefl of theie demands ? The minifters never authorized 
any perfon to enter into his exdiequer, and to fearch his 
records. Why then this fliameful and infulting mockery 
of a pretended conteft ? Already contefts for a preference 
have arifen among thefe rival bond creditors. Has not the 
ccmipany itfelf ftruggled for a preference for years, without 
any attempt at detection of the nature of thoie debts with 
which they contended ? Well is the nabob of Arcot attended 
to in the only fpecific complaint he has ever made. He 
complained of unfair dealing in the cavalry loan. It is fixed 
upon him with intereft on intereft; and this loan is excepted 
from all power of litigation. 

This day, and not before, the right honourable gentle- 
man thinks that the general eilablifhment of all claims is 
the fureft way of laying open the fraud of fome of them. 
In India, this is a. reach of deep policy. But what would 

be 



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NABOB OF ARGOT'S DEBTS. 471 

be thought of this mode of a<fting on a demand upon the 
treafury in England ? Inftead of all this cunning, is there not 
one plain way open, that is, to put the burthen of the proof 
on thofe who make the demand ? Ought not miniftry to 
have faid to the creditors, *^ The perfon who admits your 
*^ debt ftands excepted to as evidence ; he ftands charged as 
<^ a collufive party, to hand over the public revenues to you 
^^' for linifter purpofes ? You fay, you have a demand of feme 
^ minions fon the Indian treafury ; prove that you have 
^^ adted by lawful authority ; prove at leaft that your money 
** has been bondjide advanced; entitle yourfelf to my'pro- 
" te(Stion,.by the fairnefs and fulnefs of the communications 
**• you make.** Did an honeft creditor ever refufe that rea- 
fonable and honeft teft ? 

There is little doubt, that feveral individuals have been 
feduced by the purveyors to the nabob of Arcot to put their 
money (perhaps the whole of honeft and laborious earnings) 
into their hands, and that at fuch high intereft, as, being 
condemned at law, leaves them at the mercy of the great 
managers whom they trufted. Thefe feduced creditors are 
probably perfons of no power or intereft, either in England 
or India, and may be juft objei5ls of compaffion . By takings 
in this arrangement no meafures for difcrimination and dif- 
covery ; the fraudulent and the fair are in the firft inftance 
confounded in one mafs. The fiibfequent feledtion and; 
diftribution is left to the ngbc*. With him the agents and 
inftruments of his corruption, whom he fees to be omnipo- 
tent in England, and who may ferve him in future, as they 
have done in times paft^ will have precedence, if not an ex- 
elufive preference* Thefe Ifeading interefts domineer, and 
have alvrays domineered, over the whole. By this arrange- 
ment the perfons feduced* are made dependent on their fe^ 
ducers; honefty (comparative honefty at leaft) muft become 
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472. SPEECH ON THE 

of the party of fraud, and muft quit its proper charadler, 
and its juft claims, to entitle itfelf to the alms of bribef y and 
peculation. 

But be thefe Englifli creditors what they may, the credi- 
tors, moft certainly not fraudulent, are the natives, who are 
numerous and wretched indeed : by exhaufting the whole 
revenues of the Garnatic, nothing is left for them. They lent 
bond fide I in all probability they were even forced to lend, 
or to give goods and fervice for the nabob's obligations. They 
had no trults to carry to his market. They had no faith of 
alliances to fell. They had no nations to betray to robbery 
and ruin. They had no lawful government feditioufly to 
overturn ; nor had they a governor, to whom it is owing 
that you CKift in India, to deliver over to captivity, and to 
death, in a lliameful prifon *. 

Thefe were the merits of the principal part of the debt of 
1777, and the univerfally conceived caufes of its growth; 
and thus the unhappy natives are deprived of every hope of 
payment for their real debts, to make provifion for the ar- 
rears of unfatisfied bribery and treafon. You fee in this in- 
ftance, that the prefumption of guilt is not only no excep- 
tion to the demands on the public treafury ; but with thefe 
minifters it is a neceflary condition to their fupport. But 
that you may not think this preference folely owing to their 
known contempt of the natives, who ought with every ge- 
nerous mind to claim their firft charities ; you will find the 
fame rule religioufly obferved witR Europeans too. Attend, 
Sir, to this decifive cafe.— Since the beginning of the war, 
befides arrears of every kind, a bond debt has been con- 
tradled at Madras, imcertain in its amount, but reprefented 
from four hundred thoufand pound to a million fterling. It 
ttands only at the low intereft of eight per cent. Of the 

♦ Lord Pigot, 

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NABOB OF ARGOT'S DEBTS. 473 

legal authority on which this debt was contracted, of its 
purpofes for the very being of the ftate, of its publicity and 
fairnefs, no doubt has been entertained for a moment. For 
this debt, no fort of provifion whatever has been made. It 
is rejeAed as an outcaft, whilft the whole undiilipated at- 
tention of the minifter has been employed for the dif- 
charge of claims entitled to his favour by the merits we have 
feen. 

I have endeavoured to find out, if poflible, the amount of 
the whole of thofe demands, in order to fee how much, fup- 
pofing the country in a condition to furniih the fund, may 
remain to fatisfy the public debt and the neceflary eftablifh- 
ments. But I have been foiled in my attempt. About one- 
fourth, that is about j^. 220,000 of the loan of 1767, remains 
unpaid. How much intereft is in arrear, I could never dif- 
cover ; feven or eight years at leaft, which would make the 
whole of that debt about £, 396,000. This ftock, which the 
minifters in their inftru<Stions to the governor of Madras 
ftate as the leaft exceptionable, they have thought proper to 
diftinguiih by a marked feverity, leaving it the only one, 
on which the intereft is not added to the principal, to beget 
a new intereft. 

The cavalry loan, by the operation of the fame authority, 
is made up to J[. 294,000, and this £, 294,000, made up of 
principal and intereft, is crowned with a new intereft of 
twelve per cent. 

What the grand loan, the bribery loan of 1777, may be, is 
amongft the deepeft myfteries of ftate. It is probably the 
firft debt ever affuming the title of confolidation, that did 
hot exprefs wha^ the amount of the fum confblidated was. 
It is little lefs than a contradiction in terms. In the debt of 
the year 1767, the fum was ftated in the a<5t of confolidation, 
and made to amount to J[* 880,000 capital. When this con- 

VOL. II. 3 P folidation 



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474 S P E E C H O N T H E 

folidation of 1777 was firft aanounced at the Durbar, it was 
r«|M-efente(l authentically at ^. 2^400^000. In that, w rather 
in an. higher ftate, Sir Thomas Rumbold found ^d con- 
demned it *. It afterwards fell into fuch a terror, as to 
fweat away a million of Its weight at once ; and it funk to 
^. 1,4009000 +. However, it never was without a refource 
for recruiting it to its (dd plumpnefs. There was a fort of 
floating debt of about 4 or £. 500,000 more, ready to be ad- 
ded, as occafion flioiald require. 

In ihort, when you preffed this fenfitlve plant, it always 
contradted its dimenlions. When the rude hand of enquiry 
was withdrawn, it expanded In aU the luKuhaat vigour oif 
its original vegetation- In the treaty ol 1781, the whole of 
the nabob's debt to priyate Europeans is by Mr. Sullivan^ 
agent to the nabob and the creditors, ftatcd at ^. 2,800,000, 

• In Str Thomas Rumbold's letter to the court of (fireftors, March I5t!i, 1778^ he xe- 
prelents it as higher, in the following manner \^-^^ How fliall I paint to you my aftonHh- 
^ cneiit on my arrival here, when t was informed, that independent of ^is faur laeks of 
f« pafoto [ithe cavalry lowi] ; iffdepcodcnf pf .tll^ ffib^^l MbC to bis oH <radiliir% tsA 
^^ the money due to the company; he bad cofUi:s|£lQd % dabt to tfae M^miDus jimauai of 
" fixty.three lacks of pagodas [^. 2,520,000.]— I mention this circumftance to you with 
** b^jror-y for Ae creditors being in general yJrvtf«/i of the company^ renders my talk, on the 
« part of the company, difficult and invidious.*' — ** I have freed the- fan^on of this go- 
;* TriP3«i(0( from Jif corrupt a tnini0f9ipn. It is, ixi my minA die moA ircnd of al pro- 
"^ f e^pgs, to give the company's protection to Jebts that /e^not beiK th« light 3 and 
** though it appears exceedingly alarming, that a country, on whi9h you are U> depend for 
** refourccs, fhould be fo involved, as to be nearly three years revenue in debt; In a country 
« too, where one year's revenue can never be called fecure^ by men who know any thing 
«^ of the politics of this part gf India. "^-*^ I think it pro|)er to mention to you, that 
^ although the nabob reports his priv^U debt So ammu t^ §ip^ards 9ffixi;f, lachy yet I wdtr* 
1^ XUnd that it is not quite fo much."— Afterwards Sir Thorny Rumbold recomoiendeti 
this debt to the favourable attention of th^ company, but withput any fufKcient reafon for 
his change of difpofition. However he went no further. * 

t Nabob's propo&fab N^vembfir 25t}i> 17783 iu)d pocmpwl of jthe qsditQr^ Mvck 
aft, 1779. 

4 which 



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NABOB OF ARGOT'S DEBTS. 4^5 

whidi (if the cavalry loan, and the remains of the debt of 
1767, be fubtra6ted) leaves it nearly at the amount originally 
declared at the Durbar, in 1777. But then there is a private 
inftru£tion to Mr. Sullivan, which it feems will reduce it 
again to the lower ftandard of ^; 1^400,000. Failing in all 
my attempts, by a diredl account, to afcertain the extent of 
the capital claimed (where in all probability no capital was 
ever advanced) I endeavoured, if poffible, to difcover it by 
the intereft which was to be paid* For that purpofe, I 
looked to the feveral agreements for affigning the territories 
of the Gartiatic to fecare the principal and intereft of this 
debt. * In one of them * I found ih a fort of poftfcrlpt, by 
way of an additional remark, (not in the body of the obliga* 
tion) the debt reprefented at £. Tyf.<xy,ooo. But when I com- 
puted the fums to be paid for intereft by inftalments in an- 
other paper, I found they produced the intereft of two mil- 
lions, at twelve per cent, and the aflignment fuppofed, that 
if theie inftalments might exceed, they might alfo fall Ihort 
of the real provifion for that intereft +. ^ 

Another inftalment bond was afterwards granted. In that 
bond the intereft exacftly tallies with a capital of £^. iy(oo,ooo|. 
But purfuing this capital through the correfpondence, I loft 
iight of it again, and it was afierted that tliis inftalment bond 
was confidetably ftiort of the intereft that ought to be com* 
puted to the time mentioned §. Here are, therefore, two 
ftatements of equal authority, differing at leaft a million 
fcom each other ; and as neither perfbns claiming, nor any 
Ipecial fum as belonging to each particular claimant, is as- 
certained in the inftruments of confolidation, or in the in- 

* Nabob's propofals to his new confolidated cftditors, November 25A, X778« 

+ Paper figned by the nabob, 6th January 1780, 
' X Kiftbundi to Jidy 31, 1780, ' 

.§ GoiWiiafiJetlei^itodidAabob^aj^Juljr f7^9» 1 ' ' ; ^ 

3 P 2 ftalment 



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476 SPEECH ON THE 

ftalment bonds, a large fcope was left to throw in any fvim» 
for any perfons, as their merits in advancing the inteiteft of 
that loan might require; a power was alfo left for rediKStion, 
in cafe a harder hand, or more fcanty funds, might be found 
to require it. Stronger grounds for a prefumption of fraud 
never appeared in any tranfa<Stion. But the miniilers, faith- 
ful to the plan of the interefted perfons, whom alone they 
thought fit to confer with on this occafion, have ordered the 
payment of the whole mafs of thefe unknown unliquidated 
fums, without an attempt to afcertain them. On this con- 
duiSt, Sir, I leave you to make your own reflexions. 

It is impoflible (at leail I have found it impoffible) to fix 
on the real amount of the pretended debts with, which your 
minifters have thought proper to. load the Carnatic. They 
are obfcure ; they ftiun enquiry ; they are: enormous. That 
is all you know of them. 

That you may judge what j chance any honourable and 
ufeful end of government has for a provifion that comes in 
for the leavings of thefe gluttonous demands, I mtift take it 
on niyfelf to bring before you the real condition of that 
abufed, infulted, racked, and ruined country ; though in 
truth my mind revolts from it ; though you will hear it with 
horrpr; and 1 cpnfe^, I trembly when I think on thefe awful 
and confounding difpenfations of Providence. I ihall firfi: 
trouble you with a few words as to the caufe. 

The great fortunes mad^ in India in the beginnings of 
conqueft, naturally excited ^n (emulation in all < the parts, 
and through the whole- fucccfllon of the company's fervice. 
But in the company it gave rife to other fentiments. They 
did not find the new channels of acquifition flow with equal 
liches to them. On the contrary, the high flood-tide of 
private emolujnent w^s generally in the loweA ebb of their 
affairs. They began alfo to. fie^rithat the. fortune of war 

might 



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NABOB OF ARGOT'S DEBTS. 477 

might take away what the fortune of war had given. Wars 
were accordingly difcouraged by repeated injunctions and 
menaces; and that the fervants might not be bribed into them 
by the native princes, they were ftridtly forbidden to take any 
money whatfoever from their hands. But vehement paffion 
is ingenious in refources. The company's fervants were 
not only flimulated, but better inftrucSted by the prohibition. 
They foon fell upon a contrivance which anfwered their 
purpofes far better than the methods which were forbidden; 
though in this alfo they .violated an ancient, but they 
thought, an abrogated order. They reverfed their proceed- 
ings. Inftead of receiving. prefents, they made loans. In- 
ftead of carrying on wars in their own name, they contrived 
an authority, at once irrefiftible and irrefponfible, ia whofe 
name they might ravage at pleafure; and being thus freed 
from all reftraint, they indulged themfelves in the moft ex- 
travagant fpecuiations of plunder. The cabal of creditors 
who have been the objedt of the late bountiful grant from his 
majefty's minifters, in order to poffefs themfelves, under the 
name of creditors and affignees, of every country in India, 
as fa;{l as it fhould be conquered, infpired . into the mind of 
the nabob of Arcot (then a dependant on the company of 
the humbleft order) a fcheme of the moft wild and defperate 
ambition that I believe ever was admitted into the thoughts 
of a man fo iituated *• Firft, they perfuaded him to confider 
himfeif as a principal member in the political fyftem of 
Europe. In the next place, they held out to him, and he 
readily imbibed the idea of the general empire of Indoftan. 

« Report of the kle& committee, Madras confultatkms, January 7» 1771. See add 
papers publiihed hy the order of the court of direftors in 1776 1 and lord Macartney's cor-^ 
ae^jondence with Mr« Haftings and the nabob of Arcot See aM> Mr. Dundas's appen- 
^ N"* 376 B» Nabob's propofittons through Mr. SuKvan oad A&m Kh2n, Art. 6: 
and indtcd the whole. 

A* 



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478 SPEECH ON THE 

As a preliminary to this undertaking, they prevailed on him 
to propofe a tripartite divifion of that vaft country. One 
part to the company; another to the Marattas; and the 
third to himfelf. To himfelf he referred all the foiithern 
part of the great peninfula, comprehended under the gene- 
ral name of the Decan. 

On this fcheme of their fervants, the company was to ap- 
pear in the Carnatic in no other light than as a contractor 
for the provifion of armies, and the hire of mercenaries for 
his ufe, and under his dire<5tion* This difpofition was to be 
fecured by the nabob's putting himfelf under the guarantee 
of France ; and by the means of that rival nation, prevent- 
ing the Englifti for ever from affuming an equality, much 
lefs a fuperiority in the Carnatic* In purfuance of this 
treafonable project (treafonable on the part of the Englifti) 
they extinguifticd the company as a ibvereign power in 
that part of India ; they withdrew the company's garriibns 
out of all the forts and ftrong holds of the Carnatic ; they 
declined to receive the ambafladors from foreign courts, and 
remitted them to the nabob of Arcot ; they fell upon, and 
totally deftroyed the oldeft ally of the company, the king 
of Tanjore, and plundered the country to the amount of 
near five millicms fterling ; one after another, in the nabob's 
name, but with Englifti force, they brought into a miferable 
fervitude all the princes, and great independent nobility of 
a vaft country*. In proportion to thcfe treaibns and vio- 

* <« Tfae fmc\f»io\yoBt of theexpedidoa is to fpt money from Tanjoro to pay tbe aa-, 
^ hob's debt : if a fuiplus, to be applied in difcbarge of the nabob's debts to his private 
^ crodilors." ConlUutioiis, Al^ch oo, 1771 ^ and for further lighti, Confiiltitiansy 
laA juae 1771* *^yfe are^armed^ kt^ this debt to individuals ihould have been the rtd 
^ .iMliire for die aggraiidi^eio^nt p( Mafaooied Aii [the nabob of Ar€ot] and ibK wt 0n 
^^•flmt^d iffftuc fuarfo' ptit^oriato^poflcffion of the MySort revenues j^ ^ dij^burii^ 
'^ the dsbt.'* Letter from the diredbrs, March 17, 1769. . , 

lenceS) 



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NABOB OF ARCOT^s DEBTS. 479 

lenceS) which ruined the people, the fund of the nabob's 
debt grew and flouriihed. 

Among the vidtims to this magnificent plan of univerfal 
phinder, worthy of the heroic avarice of the projectors, you 
have all h^ard (and he has made himfelf to be w^ell remem- 
bered) of an Indian chief called Hyder Ali Khan. This 
man poflefled the weftern, as the company under the name 
of the nabob of Arcot does the eaftern divifion of the Car- 
natic. It was among the leading meafures in the defign of 
this cabal (according to their own emphatic language) to 
extirpate this Hyder Ali*. They declared the nabob of 
Arcot to be his fbvereign, and himfelf to be a rebel, and 
publicly invefted their inftrument with the fovereignty of the 
kingdom of Myfore. But their vidtihi was not of the paffive 
kind. They were foon obliged to conclude a treaty ef peace 
and clofe alliance with this rebel, at the gates of Madras • 
Both before and fince that treaty, every principle of policy 
pointed out this power as a natiiral alliance ; and on his 
part, it was courted by every fort of amicable office. But 
the cabinet council of Englifh creditors would not fufier 
their nabob of Arcot to fign the treaty, nor even to give to- 
a prince, at leaft his equal, the ordinary titles of refpedt and 
courtefy +. From that time forward, a continued plot was 
carried on within the divan, black and white, of the nabob 
of Arcot, for the deftru<5tion of Hyder Ali. ' As to the out- 
ward members of the double, or rather treble government 
of Madras, whkh had figned the treaty, they were always 
prevented by fome over-ruling influence (which they do 
not defcribe, but which cannot be mifimderftood) froni 

f Lcjter from the fi4v>b. May %9t^ 17^8; wA 4Bf^ 24* Apri( 177^ x9t OAp|«t 
ditto, i6th Septcmlj/?r 177a, i6th Mvcb 1773. 

t Letter from the prcfidency at Madras to die court of dirediors, 271^ Jime 1769*. 

performing 



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48o SPEECH ON THE 

perforaiing what juftice and intereft combined fo evidently 
to enforce *• 

When at length Hyder Ali found that he had to do with 
men who either would iign no convention, or whom no 
treaty, and no fignature could bind, and who were the de- 
termined enemies of human intercourfe itfelf, he decreed to 
make the country ix)flefled by thefe incorrigible and pre- 
deflinated criminals a memorable example to mankind. He 
refolved, in the. gloomy recefles of a mind capacious of fuch 
things, to leave the whole Carnatic an everlafting monument 
of vengeance ; and to put perpetual defolation as a barrier be* 
tween him and thofe againft whom the faith which holds the 
moral dements of the world together was no protection. 
He became at length fo confident of his force, fo collected 
in his might, that he made no fecret whatfoever of his 
dreadful reiblution« Having terminated his difputes with 
every enemy, and every rival, who buried their mutual 
animofities in their common deteftation againft the creditors 
of the nabob of Arcot, he drew from every quarter what- 
ever a favage ferocity could add to his new rudiments in 
the arts of deftru(5tion ; and compounding all the materials 
of fury, havoc, and defolation, into one black cloud, he 
hung for a while on the declivities of the mountains. 
Whilft the authors of all thefe evils were idly and ftupidly 
gazing on this menacing meteor, which blackened all their 
horizon, it fuddenly burft, and poured down the whole of 
its contents upon the plains of the Carnatic.^ — Then enfued 
a fcene of woe, the like of which no eye had feen, no heart 
conceived, and which no tongue can adequately telL All 
the horrors of war before known or heard of, were mercy 
to that new havoc. A ftorm of univerfal fire blafted every 
field, confumed every houfe, deftroyed every temple. The 

* Mr* Duodas's committee, Report I. Appendix No. %g, 

miferable 



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NABOB OF ARGOT'S DEBTS. 481 

miferable inhabitants flying from their flaming villages, in 
part were flaughtered ; others, without regard to fex, to 
age, to the refpeft of rank, or facrednefs of fundtion ; fa- 
thers torn from children, hufbands from wives, enveloped 
. in a whirlwind of cavalry, and amidft the goading fpears of 
drivers, and the trampling of purfuing horfes, were fwept 
into captivity, in an unknown and hoftile land. Thofe who 
were able to evade this tempeft, fled to the walled cities. 
But efcaping from fire, fword, and exile, they fell into the 
jaws of famine. 

The alms of the fettlement, in this dreadful exigency, 
were certainly liberal ; and all was done by charity that pri- 
vate charity could do : but it was a people in beggary ; it 
was a nation which ftretched out its hands for food. For 
months together thefe creatures of fufFerance, whofe very 
excefs and luxury in their moft plenteous days, had fallen 
Ihort of the allowance of our auftereft fafts, filent, patient, 
refigned, without fedition or difturbance, almoft without 
complaint, perilhed by an hundred a day in the ftreets of 
Madras ; every day feventy at leaft laid their bodies in the 
ftreets, or on the glacis of Tanjore, and expired of famine 
in the granary of India. I was going to awake your juftice 
towards this unhappy part of our fellow citizens, by bring- 
ing before you fome of the circumftances of this plague of 
hunger. Of all the calamities which befet and waylay the 
life of man, this comes the neareft to our heart, and is that 
wherein the proudeft of us all feels himfelf to be nothing 
more than he is : but I find myfelf unable to manage it 
with decorum ; thefe details are of a fpecies of horror fo 
naufeous and difgufting ; they are fo degrading to the fuf- 
ferers and to the hearers ; they are fo humiliating to hu- 
man nature itfelf, that, on better thoughts, I find it more 
Vol. 11. 3 Q advifeable 



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48« SPEECH ON THE 

advifeable to throw a paH over this hideoiis object, and to 
leave it to yotir general conceptions. 

* For eighteen months, without intermifiion, this deftruc- 
tion raged from tlie gates of Madras to the gates of Tanjore; 
and fo compleatly did thefe mafters in their art, Hyder Ali, 
and his more ferocious fon, abfolve themfelves of their 
impious vow, that when the Britifli armies traverfed, as 
they did the Carnatic for hundreds of miles in all dire(5tions, 
through the whole line of their march they did not fee one 
man, not one woman, not one child, not one four-footed 
beaft of any defcription whatever. One dead uniform fi- 
lence reigned over the whole region. With the inconfider- 
able exceptions of the narrow vicinage of fome few forts, I 
with to be underftood as fpeaking literally. I mean to. pro- 
duce to you more than three witnefles, above all exception, 
who will fupport this aflertion in its full extent. That hur> 
ricane of war pafled through every part of the central pro- 
vinces oS the Carnatic. Six or feven dlftri(£ts to the north 
and to the ibuth (and theie not wholly untouched) efcaped 
the general ravage. 

The Caimatic is a country not much inferior in extent to 
England. Figure to youxfelf, Mr. Speaker, the hnd ia 
whofe reprefentative chair you fit ; figure to yourielf the 
form and fafhioD of your fweet and cheerful country from 
Thames to Trent, north and ibuth, and from the Irifh to 
the German fea eaft and weft, emptied and embowelled 
(May God avert the omen of our crimes !) by fo ajccocck- 
plifhed a defolation.. Extend your imagination a little fur- 
ther, and then, fiippofe your miniHers taking a furvey of 
this fcene of waAe and delblatioa; what would be your 
Noughts if you ihoiuld be informed, that they wese com- 
puting how much had been the amount of the excifes, how 

* Appendix N* 4, Report of tie Committee c{ affigned Revenue. 

much 



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NABOB OF ARGOT'S DEBTS. 483 

much the cuftoms, how much the land and malt tax, in 
order that they Ihould charge (take it in the moft favour- 
able light) for public fervice, upon the relicks of the fatiated 
vengeance of relentlefs enemies, the whole of what England 
had yielded in the moft exuberant feafons of peace and 
abundance ? What would you call it ? To call it tyranny, 
fublimed into madnefs, would be too faint an image ; yet 
this very madnefs is the principle upon which the minifters 
at your right hand have proceeded in their eftimate of the 
revenues of the Garnatic, when they were providing, not 
fupply for the eftablilhments of its protection, but rewards 
for the authors of its ruin. 

Every day you are fatigued and difgufted with this cant, 
^ the Garnatic is a country that will foon recover, and be- 
** come inftantly as profperous as ever." They think they 
are talking to innocents, who will believe that by fowing of 
^Iragons teeth, men may come up ready grown and ready 
armed. They who will give themfelves the trouble of 
confidering (for it requires no great reach of thought, no 
very profound knowledge) the manner in which mankind 
are encreafed, and countries cultivated, will regard all this 
raving as it ought to be regarded. In order that the people, 
after a long period of vexation and plunder, may be in a 
condition to maintain government, government rauft begin 
by maintaining them. Here the road to oeconomy lies not 
through receipt, but through expence ; and in that country 
nature has given no fhort cilt to your objedt. Men muft 
propagate, like other animals, by' the mouth. Never did 
oppreffion light the nuptial torch ; never did extortion and 
ufury fpread out the genial bed. Does any of you think 
that England, fo wafted, would, under fuch a nurfing at- 
tendance, fo rapidly and cheaply recover ? But he is meanly 
acquainted with either Englsind or India, who does not 

3 Q 2 know 



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484 SPEECH ON THE 

know that England would a thoufand times fooner refumc 
population, fertility, and what ought to be the ultimate 
fecretion from both, revenue, than fuch a country as the 
Carnatic. 

The Carnatic is not by the bounty of nature a fertile foil. 
The general fize of its cattle is proof enough that it is much 
otherwife. It is fome days fince I moved, that a curious 
and interefting map, kept in the India Houfe, fliould be laid 
before you *. The India Houfe is not yet in readinefs to 
fend it ; I have therefore brought down my own copy, and 
there it lies for the ufe of any gentleman who may think 
fuch a matter worthy of his attention. It is indeed a noble 
map, and of noble things; but it is decifive againft the 
golden dreams and fanguine fpeculations of avarice run 
mad. In addition to what you know mull be the cafe in 
every part of the world (the neceflity of a previous provifion 
of habitation, feed, ftock, capital) that map will ftiew you, 
that the ufe of the influences of Heaven itfelf, are in that 
country a work of art. The Carnatic is refreftied by few 
or no living brooks or running ftreams, and it has rain only 
at a feafon ; but its product of rice exadls the ufe of water 
fubjedl to perpetual command. This is the national bank 
of the Carnatic, on which it muft have a perpetual credit, 
or it perifhes irretrievably. For that reafon, in the happier 
times of India, a number almoft incredible of refervoirs 
have been made in chofen places throughout the whole 
country ; they are formed, for the greater part, of mounds 
of earth and ftones, with fluices of folid mafonry ; the whole 
conftrucSted with admirable ikill and labour, and maintained 
at a mighty charge. In the territory contained in that map 
alone, I have been at the trouble of reckoning the refervoirs, 
and they amount to upwards of eleven hundred, from the 

T Mr, Barnard's map of the Jaghirc. 

extent 



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NABOB OF ARCOT^s DEBTS* 485 

extent of two or three acres to five miles in circuit. From 
thefe refervoirs currents are occafionally drawn over the 
fields, and thefe watercourfes again call for a confiderable 
expence to keep them properly fcoured and duly levelled. 
Taking the difl:ri6l in that map as a meafure, there cannot 
be in the Carnatic and Tanjore fewer than ten thoufand of 
thefe refervoirs of the larger and middling dimenfions, to 
fay nothing of thofe for domeftic fervices, and the ufe of re- 
ligious purification. Thefe are not the enterprizes of your 
power, nor in a ftyle of magnificence fuited to the tafte of 
your minifter. Thefe are the monuments of real kings, 
who were the fathers of their people; teftators to a pofterity 
which they embraced as their own. Thefe are the grand 
fepulchres built by ambition ; but by the ambition of an un- 
latiable benevolence, which, not contented with reigning in 
the difpenfation of happinefs during the contracted term* of 
human life, had ftrained, with all the reachings and grafp* 
ings of a vivacious mind, to extend the dominion of their 
bounty beyond the limits of nature, and to perpetuate them- 
felves through generations of generations, the guardians, the 
protestors, the nourifliers of mankind. 

Long before the late invafion, the perfons who are objects 
of the grant of public money now before you, had fo di- 
verted the fupply of the pious funds of culture and popula- 
tion, that every whei*e the refervoirs were fallen into a mi- 
ferable decay*. But after thofe domeftic enemies had pro- 
voked the entry of a cruel foreign foe into the country, he 
did not leave it until his revenge had compleated the deftruc- 
tion begun by their avarice. Few, very few indeed, of . 
thefe magazines of water that are not either totally deftroy- « 
ed, or cut through with fuch gaps, as to require a ferious 
attention and much coft to re-eftabli(h them, as the means 

* See Report IV. Mr. Dundas's Committee, p. 46. . 

5 of 



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486 SPEECH ON THE 

of prefent fubllftence to the people, and of future revenue 
to the ilate. 

What, Sir, would a virtuous and enlightened miniftry do 
'on the view of the ruins of fuch works before them ? On 
the view of fuch a chafm of defolation as that which yawned 
in the midft of thofe countries to the north and fouth, which 
ilill bore fonae veftiges of cultivation ? They would have re- 
educed all their moft neceflary eftabliftiments ; they would 
have fufpended the jufteft payments ; they would have em- 
ployed every (hilling derived from the producing to reani- 
mate the powers of the unproductive parts. While they 
were performing this fundamental duty, whilft they were 
celebrating thefe myfteries of juftice and humanity, they 
would have told the corps of fi<Stitious creditors, whofe 
crimes were their claims, that they muft keep an awful dif- 
tance; that they muft filence their inaufpicious tongues; 
that they muft hold off their profane unhallowed paws from 
this holy work ; they would have proclaimed with a voice 
that ftiould make itMf heard, that on every country the firft 
creditor is the plow; that this original, indefeafible claim 
fuperfedes every other demand. 

This is what a wife and virtuous miniftry would have done 
and faid. This, therefore, is what our minifter could never 
think of faying or doing. A miniftry of another kind would 
have firft improved the country, and have thus laid a foUd 
foundation for future opulence and future force. But on 
this grand point of the reftoration of the country, there is 
not one fyllable to be found ia the correfpondence of our 
minifters, from the firft to the laft : they fdt nothing for a 
land defolated by fire, fword, and famine; their fympa- 
thies took another dirciSlion ; they were touched with pity 
for bribery, fo Ipng tormented with a fruitlefs itching of its 
palms ; their bowels yearned for ufury, that had long mifled 

§ the 



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NABtJB OF ARGOT'S DEBTS. 487 

tlie harveft of it3 returning months *; they felt for pecula- 
tion which hacl been for fo many years raking in the duft 
of an empty treafury; they were melted into compaffion for 
rapine and oppreflion, licking their dry, parched, unbloody 
jaws. Thefe were the objects of their folicitiide. Thefe 
were the neceflities for which they were ftudious to pro- 
Yide.. 

To ftatc the country and its revenues in their real condi- 
tion^ and to provide for thofe fiditious claims, confiftently 
with the fupport of an army and a civil eftabliihment, would 
have been impoffibte;^ therefore the minifters are fitenton' 
tdiat head, and ve£t themfelves on the authority of Lord 
Macartney, who. ia a fetter to the court of dire<ftors, written 
in the ywr 1781, ipeculating on what might be the refult of 
a wi(e manageiBeitt of the countries affigned by the nabob- 
of Arcot,. pates the revenues as in time of peace, at twelve 
hundved thouGind pound a year, as he does thofe of the king 
of TaDJbre (which had not been affigned) at four hundred 
and fifty. On this Lord Macartney grounds bis calcula?- 
tions,^ and on this they choofe to grocind theirs.. It was on 
this cakulation that the mim&ryf, in direct oppoiitibn to the 
remonftrances of the couxt of directors, have compelled that 
mijferable, enflaved, body, to put their hands to an order for 
appropriating the enormous ^m. of ^. 480,000 annually, as 
a fund for paying to their rebellious fervants^ a debt con-^ 
traced in defiance of their ckarefb and mo£t pofitive in- 
junftions* 

The authority and inlormation of Lord Miacartney is held: 
high on ^lis occafion, though it iis totally rejected in every 
other particul&F of this bufihefs. I believe I have tiie ho- 
nour of being almoft as old an acquaintance as any Lord 
Macartney ha& A conitant and unbroken fdendJChip has 

*' Intereft it nted in.India by die mcmdb 

fiibfifted 



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488 SPEECH ON THE 

fubfifted between us from a very early period ; and, I truft, 
he thinks, that as I refpe(5t his charadter, and in general ad- 
mire his condud, I am one of thofe Who feel no common 
intereft in his reputation. Yet I do not heiitate wholly to 
difallow the calculation of 1781, without any apprehenfion, 
that 1 fliall appear to diftruft his veracity or his judgment. 
This peace eftimate of revenue was not grounded on the 
ftate of the Carnatic as it then, or as it had recently ftood. 
It was a ftatement of former and better times. There is no 
doubt, that a period did exift, when the large portion of the 
Carnatic held by the nabob of Arcot might be fairly reputed 
to produce a revenue to that, or to a greater amount. But 
the whole had fo melted away by the flow and filent hofti- 
lity of oppreffion and mifmanagement, that tjie revenues, 
linking with the profperity of the country, had fallen to 
about jC* 800,000 a year, even before an enemy's horfe had 
imprinted his hoof on the foil of the Carnatic. From that 
view, and independently of the decifive effedts of the war 
which enfued, Sir Eyre Coote conceived that years muft 
pafs before the country could be reftored to its former prof- 
perity and production. It was that ftate of revenue, 
(namely, the adtual ftate before the war) which the direc- 
tors have oppofed to Lord Macartney's fpeculation. They 
refufetotake the revenues for more than ^C- 800,000. In 
this they are juftified by Lord Macartney himfelf, who, in 
a fubfequent letter, informs the court, that his fketch is a 
matter of fpeculation ; it fuppofes the country reftored to its 
ancient profperity, and the revenue to be in a courfe of ef- 
fective and honeft colle<5tion. If therefore the minifters 
have gone wrong, they were not deceived by Lord Macart- 
ney : they were deceived by no man. The eftimate of the 
dire<Stors is nearly the very eftimate furnifhed by the right 
honourable gentleman himfelf, and publiftied to the world 

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NABOB OF ARGOT'S DEBTS. 489 

in one of the printed reports of his own committee^-*; but 
as foon as he obtained his power, he chofe to abandon his 
account. No part of his official condudt can be defended on 
the ground of his parliamentary information. 

In this clafhing of accounts and eftimates, ought not the 
miniftry, if they wiflied to preferve even appearances, to 
have waited for information of the adtual refult of thefe 
fpeculations, before they laid a charge, and fuch a charge, 
not conditionally and eventually, but politively and authori- 
tatively, upon a country which they all knew, and which 
one of them had regiftered on the records of this houfe, to 
be wafted beyond all example, by every oppreffion of an 
abufive government, and every ravage of a defblating war. 
But that you may difcem in what manner they ufe the cor- 
refpondence of office, and that thereby you may enter into 
the true fpirit of the minifterial board of control, I defire 
you, Mr. Speaker, to remark, that through their whole con- 
troverfy with the court of diredlors, they do not fo much as 
hint at their ever having feen any other paper from Lord 
Macartney, or any other eftimate of revenue, than this of 
1 781. To this they hold. Here they take poft; here they 
entrench themfelves. 

When I firft read this curious controverfy between the 
minifterial board and the court of diredlors, common can- 
dour obliged me to attribute their tenacious adherence to 
the eftimate of 1781, to a total ignorance of what had ap- 
peared upon the records. But the right honourable gentle- 
man has chofen to come forward with an uncalled-for de- 
claration ; he boaftingly tells you, that he has feen, read, di* 
gefted, compared every thing ; and that if he has finned, he 

• Mr. Dundas's Committee, Rep. I. p. 9 ; and ditto, Rep. IV. 69. where the revenue 
of 1777 ftated only at 21 lacks— 30 lacks ftated as the revenue, ^^fupp^Jing the Carnatic 
«i to be froperfy managed," 

V01-. IL 3 R has 



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490 SPEECH ON THE 

has finned with his eyes broad open. Since then the minif- 
ters will obfldnately fhut the gates of mercy on themfelves, 
let them add to their crimes what aggravations they pleafe. 
They have then (fince it muft be fo) wilfully and corruptly 
fuppreffed the information which they ought to have pro- 
duced ; and for the fupport of peculation, have made them- 
felves guilty of fpoliation and fuppreflion of evidence*. 
The paper I hold in my hand, which totally overturns (for 
the prefent at leaft) the eftimate of 1781, they have no more 
taken notice of in their controverfy with the court of di- 
reiStors than if it had no exiflence. It is the report made by 
a committee appointed at Madras, to manage the whole of 
the fix countries afligned to the company by the nabob of 
Arcot. This comnnittee was wifely inftituted by Lord Ma- 
cartney, to remove from himfelf the fufpicion of all impro- 
per management in fo invidious a tmft 5 audit feems to have 
been well chofen. This committee has -made a omiparative 
eftimate of the only fix diftf i<5ts which were in a condition 
to be let to farm. In one fet of columns they ftate the grofs 
and net produce of the diftri^s as let by the nabob. To 
that ftatement they oppofe the terms on which the fame 
diftri<Sts were rented for five years, under their authority. 
Under the nabob, the grofs farm was fo high as ^. 570,000 
fterling. What was the clew produce? Why, no more 
than about £» 250,000; and this was the whole profit to the 
nabob's treafury, under his own management, of all the 
diftri£tswhich were in a condition to be let to farm on the 
27th of May 1782. L#ord Macartney's leafes fiipulated a grofs 
produce of no more than about jC* 530,006 : but then the 
eftimated net amount was nearly double the nabob's. It 
however did not then exceed ^.480,000; and Lord Macart- 
ney's commifiiohers take credit for an annual revenue 

* See Appendix N° 4, Statement in the Report of die Committee of affigned Revenue. 

5 amounting 



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NABOB OF ARGOT'S DEBTS. 491 

amounting to this clear fum. Here is no fpeculation ; here 
is no inaccurate account clandeftinely obtained from thofe 
who might wifti, and were enabled to deceive. It is the au- 
thorized recorded fkate of a real recent tranfa<5lion. Here is 
not twelve himdred thoufand pound, not eight hundred. 
The whole revenue of the Carnatic yielded no more in May 
1782 than four hundred and eighty thoufand pounds ; near- 
ly the very precife fum which your minifter, who is fb 
careful of the public fecurity, has carried from all defcrip- 
tions of eftablifhment to form a fund for the private emolu- 
ment of his creatures. 

In this eftimate, we fee, as I have juft obferved, the na- 
bob's farms rated fo high as £. 570,000. Hitherto all is 
well ; . but follow on to the eflfe<ftive net revenue : there the 
illufion vanilhes ; and you will not find nearly fb much as 
half the produce. It is with reafon therefore lord Macartney 
invariably throughout the whole correfpondence, qualifies 
all his views and expe(5tations of revenue, and all his plans 
for its application, with this indifpenfable condition, that 
the management is not in the hands of the nabob of Arcot. 
Should that fatal meafure take place, he has over and over 
again told you, that he has no pcofpeO: of realizing any 
thing whatfoever fpr any public purpofe. With thefe weighty 
declarations, confirmed by fuch a flate of indifputable fa<5t 
before them ; what has been done by the chancellor of the 
excheqiier and his accomphces ? Shall I be believed ? They 
.hav€ delivered over thofe very territories, on the keeping of 
which in the hands of the committee, the defence of our 
dominions, and whs^t was more dear to them, pofJibly, their 
own job depended ; they have delivered back again without 
condition, without arrangement, without ftipulation of any 
fort for the , natives of any rank, the whole of thofe vaft 
countries, to many of which he had no juft claim, into 

3 R 2 the 



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492 SPEECH ON THE 

the ruinous mifmanagement of the nabob of Arcot. To 
crown all, according to their miferable practice whenever 
they do any thing tranfcendently abfurd, they preface this 
their abdication of their truft, by a folemn declaration that 
they were not obliged to it by any principle of policy, or any 
denoand of juftice whatfoever. 

I have ftated to you the eftimated produce of the territo- 
ries of the Garnatic, in a condition to be farmed in 1782, 
according to the different managements into which they 
might fall; and this eftimate the minifters have thought 
proper to fupprefs. Since that, two other accounts have 
been received. The firft informs us, that there has been a 
recovery of what is called arrear, as well as of an improve- 
ment of the revenue of one of the iix provinces which were 
let in 1782 *\ It was brought about by making a new wan 
After fome (harp adlions, by the refolution and flcill of co- 
lonel Fullarton, feveral of the petty princes of the moft 
foutherly of the unwafted provinces were compelled to pay 
very heavy rents and tributes, who for a long time before 
had not paid any acknowledgment. After this redu<5lion, 
l)y the care of Mr. Irwin, one of the committee, that pro- 
vince was divided into twelve farms. This operation raifed 
the income of that particular province ; the others remain 
as they were firft farmed. So that inftead of producing 
only their original rent of ^. 480,000, they netted in about 
two years and a quarter £. 1,320,000 fterUng^ which would 
be about J[^. 66o,coo a year, if the recovered arrear was not 
included. What deduction is ta be made on account of that 
arrear I cannot determine, but certainly what would re*- 
duce the annual income confiderably below the rate I have 
allowed. 

The fecond account received, is the letting of the wafted 

• The piwincc of Tinnevtlly.. 

provinces 



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NABOB OF ARGOT'S DEBTS. 493 

provinces of the Carnatic. This I underftand is at a grow- 
ing rent, which may or may not realife what it promifes ; 
but if it ihould anfwer, it will raife the whole, at fame fu- 
ture time, to^. 1,200,000. 

You muft here remark, Mr. Speaker, that this revenue is 
the produce of all the nabob's dominions. During the 
aflignment, the nabob paid nothing, becaufe the company 
had all. Suppoling the whole of the lately affigned terri- 
tory to yield up to the moll fanguine expedtations of the. 
right honourable gentleman ; and fuppofe jC- 1,200,000 to 
be annually realized (of which we adtually know of no more 
than the realizing of fix hundred thoufand) out of this you 
muft dedu<5t the fubfidy and rent which the nabob paid 
before the affignment, namely £^. 340,000 a year. This 
reduces back the revenue applicable to the new diftribution 
made by his majefty's minifters, to about X- 800,000. Of that 
fum five-eighths are by them furrendered to the debts. The; 
remaining three are the only fund left for all the purpofes. 
fo magnificently difplayed in the letter of the board of con- 
trol ; that is for a new-caft peace eftablifhment ; a new fund 
for ordnance and fortifications ; and a large allowance for 
what they call *^ the fplendor of the Durbar.'* 

You have heard the account of thefe territories as they, 
flood in 1782. You have feen the a£iual receipt fince the 
affignment in 1781, of which I reckon about two years and 
a quarter produdlive. I have ftated to you the expedation 
from the wafted part.. For realizing all this you may value 
yourfelves on the vigour and diligence of a governor and 
committee that have done fo much. If thefe hopes from 
the committee are rational—remember that the committee 
is no more. Your minifters, who have formed their fund 
for thefe debts on the prefumed effedl of the committee's 
management, have put a complete end to that committee. , 

Their 



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494 SPEECH ON THE 

Their a6ls are refcinded; their leafes are broken; their 
renters are difperfed. Your minifters knew when they 
iigned the death-warrant of the Gamatic, that the nabob 
would not only turn all thefe unfortunate farmers of re- 
venue out of employment, but that he has denounced his 
fevereft vengeance againft them, for a6ting under Britilh au- 
thority. With a knowledge of this difpofition, a Britifh 
chancellor of the exchequer, and treafurer of the navy, in- 
cited by no public advantage, impelled by no pubHc necef- 
lity, in a ftrain of the moft wanton perfidy which has ever 
flained the annal$ of mankind, have delivered over to plun- 
der, imprifonment, exile, and death itfelf, according to the 
mercy of fuch execrable tyrants as Amir al Omra and Paul 
Benfield, the unhappy and deluded fouls, who, untaught by 
uniform example, were ftill weak enough to put their truft 
in Englifh faith*. They have gone farther; they have 
thought proper to mock and outrage their mifery by ordering 
them jM^oteftion and compenfation. From what power is this 
protection to be derived ? And from what fund is this com- 
penfation to arife ? The revenues are delivered over to their 
oppreflbr ; the territorial jurifdidtion, from whence that re- 
venue is to arife, and under which they live, is furrendered 
to the fame iron hands : and that they ftiaU be deprived of 
all refuge, and all hope, the minifter has made a folemn, vo- 
luntary declaration, that he never will interfere with the na- 
bob's internal government +. 

The laft thing confidered by the board of control among 
the debts of the Carnatic, was that arifing to the Eafk India 
company, which after the provifion for the cavalry, and the 
confolidation of 1777, was to divide the refidue of the fund 
x)f £. 480,000 a year with the lenders of 1767. This debt the 

* Appendix, N* 5 ; and for the peculiar hardfliip of one 9f the ea^ N** 
. t See txtnSt of their letter in the Appendix, N» 6 A. 

worthy 



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NABOB OF ARGOT'S DEBTS. 495 

worthy chairmafi, who fits oppofite to me, contends to be 
three millions ilerling. Lord Macartney's account of 1781, 
ftates it to be at that period £. 1,200,000. The firft account 
of the court of dir€<9:ors makes it £, 900,000. This, like the 
private debt, being without any folid exiftence, is incapable 
of any diftin(Sl limits. Whatever its amount or its validity 
may be, one thing is clear ; it is of the nature and quality of 
a public debt. In that light nothing is provided for it, but 
an eventual furplus to be divided with one clafs of the pri- 
vate demands, after fatisfying the two firft clafles. Never 
was a more Ihameful poftponing a public demand, which by 
the reafon of the thing, and the uniform pracStice of all na- 
tions, fuperfcdes every private claim. 

Thofe who gave this preference to private claims, con- 
fider the company's as a lawful demand ; elfe, why did they 
pretend to {«-oyide for it ? On their own principles they are 
condemned. 

But I, Sir, who profefe to fpeak to your underftanding 
and to your confcience, and to brufh away from this bufi- 
nefs all falfe colours* all falfe appellations, as well as falfe 
fa(Sls, do pofitively deny that the Carnatic owes a fhilling to 
the company; whatever the company may be indebted to 
that undone country. It owes nothing to the company, for 
this plain and fimple reafon — ^The territory charged with 
the debt is their own. To fay that their revenues fall ftiort,, 
and owe them money, is to fay they are in debt to them- 
felves, which is only talking, nonfenfe. The fa<ft is, that by 
the invafion of an enemy, and the ruin of the country, the. 
company, either in its own name or in the names of the na- 
bob of Arcot and Rajah of Tanjore, has loft for feveral years 
what it might have looked to receive from its own eftate.. 
If men were allowed to credit themfelves, upon fuch prin- 
ciples any one might foon grow rich by this mode of ac- 
counting.. 



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496 SPEECH ON T HE 

counting. A flood comes down upon a man's ellate in the 
Bedford Level of a thoufand pounds a year, and drowns 
his rents for ten years. The chancellor would put that man 
into the hands of a truftee, who would gravely make up his 
books, and for this lofs credit himfelf in his account for a 
debt due to him of jC« 10,000. It is, however, on this prin- 
ciple the company makes up its demands on the Carnatic. 
In peace they go the full length, and indeed more than the 
full length, of what the people can bear for current eftablifli- 
ments; then they are abfurd enough to confolidate all the 
calamities of war into debts ; to metamorphofe the devafta- 
tions of the country into demands upon its future produc- 
tion. What is this but to avow a refolution utterly to de- 
ftroy their own country, and to force the people to pay for 
their fufFerings, to a government which has proved unable 
to prote<5l either the (hare of the hufbandman or their own ? 
In every leafe of a farm, the invafion of an enemy, inftead 
of forming a demand for arrear, is a releafe of rent ; nor 
for that releafe is it at all neceflary to fliow, that the inva- 
fion has left nothing to the occupier of the foil ; though in 
the prefent cafe it would be too eafy to prove that melancholy 
fa<a *. I therefore applauded my right honourable friend, 
who, when he canvafled the company's accounts, as a preli- 
minary to a bill that ought not to ftand on falfehood of any 
kind, fixed his difcerning eye, and his deciding hand, on 
thefe debts of the company, from the nabob of Arcot and 
Rajah of Tanjore, and at one ftroke expunged them all, as 
utterly irrecoverable ; he might have added as utterly un- 
founded. 
On thefe grounds 1 do not blame the arrangement this 

• « It is certain that the incarfion <^z/nu of Hyder's horfe into the Jaghir^ in 1767, 
« coft.the conjpany upwards of pagodas 27,000, in allowances for danugtt." Confalt*. 
tions, February nth, 1771. 

day 



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NABOB OF ARGOT'S DEBTS. 497 

day in queftion, as a preference given tx) the d^bt of indivi- 
duals over the company's^ debt* In my eye it is no more 
than the preference of a fi<ftion over a chimera; but I blame 
the preference given to thofe fi£fitioiis private debts, over 
the Handing defence and the ftanding government. It is 
there the public is robbed. It is robbed in its army ; it is 
rohbedin its civil adminiftration ; it is robbed in its credit; 
it'is robbed in its inveftment which forms the commercial 
connedliDri between that country and Europe, There is the 
robbery. 

But my principal objedlion lies a good deal deeper. That 
dfebt to the company is the pretext under which all the other 
debts iurk and cover themfelves. That debt forms the foul 
putrid milcus^ in which are engendered the whole brood of 
creeping, lafcaddes, all the endlefs involutions^ the eternal 
knoty added to, a knot of thofe inexpugnable faape- worms 
which devour the nutriment, and eat up the bowels of In- 
dia *. It is neceffary, Sir, you fliould recolledt two things r 
firft, that the nabob's debt to the company carries no intereft. 
In thenact jplace you will obferve, that whenever the com- 
pany has occaiion to borrow, fhe has always commaaded 
Whatever fhe thought fit at eight per cent. Carrying in 
your mitid fhefetwo fa6ls, attend to the procefs with regard 
to the public and private debt, and with what little appear- 
ance of decency they play into each other's hands a game of 
utter perdition to the unhappy natives of India. The na- 
bob falls into an arrear to the company. The prefidency 
prefles for payment. The nabob's anfwer is, I have no mo- 
ney. Good. But there are foucars who will fupply you on 
the mortgage of your territories. Then fteps forward fome 

* Proctedings at Madras, nth February 1769^ and throughout the corrcfpondence on' 
thisfubjeft; partiofdady ConiUltaticsis OiSober 4^, ^1^^ ^^^ the oreditors memorial, 
20th January 1 770. 

Vol. II. 3 S Paul 



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498 SPEECH ON THE 

Paul Benfield, and from his grateful compaffion to the na- 
bob, and his filial regard to the company, he unlocks the 
treafures of his virtuous induftry ; and for a conlideration 
of twenty*four or thirty-fix per cent, on a mortgage of the 
territorial revenue, Ijecomes fccurity to the company for the 
nabob's arrear. 

All this intermediate ufury thus becomes fan<aified by the 
ultimate view to the company's payment. In this cafe, 
would not a plain man afk this plain queflion of the com- 
pany ; if you know that the nabob muft annually mortgage 
his territories to your fervants, to pay his annual arrear to 
you, why is not the aflignmient or mortgage made diredfcly 
to the company itfelf ? By this fimple obvious operation, 
the company would be relieved and the debt paid, without 
the charge of a Ihilling intereft to that prince^ But if that 
courfe (hould be thought too indulgent, why do they not 
take that affignment with fuch intereft to themfelves as 
they pay to others, that is eight per cent f Or if it were 
thought more advifeable (why it fliould I know not) that he 
muft borrow, why do not the company lend thein awn cre- 
dit to the nabob for their own payment ? That credit would 
not be weakened by the collateral fecurity of his. territorial 
mortgage. The money might ftill be had at eight per cent. 
Inftead of any of thefe hoheft and obvious methods, the 
company has for years kept up a ftiew of difintereftednefs 
and moderation, by fufFering a debt to accumulate to them 
from the country powers without any intereft at all ; 'and at 
the fame time have feen before their eyes, on a pretext of bor- 
rowing to pay that debt, the revenues of the country charged 
with an ufury of twenty, twenty-four, thirty-fix, and even 
eight-and-forty per cent, with compound intereft % for the 
benefit of their fervants. All this time they Jtnow that by 

* Appendix E. 

having 



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NABOB OF ARGOT'S DEBTS. 499 

having a debt fubfifting without any intereft, which is to be 
paid by contradling a debt on the higheft intereft, they mani- 
feftly render it neceffary to the nabob of Arcot to give the 
private demand a preference to the public; and by binding 
him and their fervants together in a common caufe, they en- 
able him to form a party to the utter ruin of their own autho- 
rity, and their own affairs. Thus their falfe moderation, 
and their affe6ted purity, by the natural operation of every 
thing falfe, and every thing affedted, becomes pander and 
bawd to the unbridled debauchery and licentious lewdnefs 
of ufury and extortion. 

In confequence of this double game, all the territorial 
revenues have, at one time or other, been covered by thofe 
locufts, the Englilh foucars. Not one fingle foot of the 
Garnatic has elcaped them ; a territory as large as England. 
During thefe operations what a fcene has that country pre- 
fented*! The ufurious European affignee fuperfedes the 
nabob's native farmer of the revenue ; the farmer flies to 
the nabob's prefence to claim his bargain ; whilft his fer- 
vants murmur for wages, and his foldiers mutiny for pay. 
The mortgage to the European affignee is then refumed, 
and the native farmer replaced ; replaced, again to be re- 
moved on the new clamour of the European affignee +. 

* For fomc part of thefe ufurious tranfadlions, fee Confultation aSth January 1781 ; 
and for the nabob's excufing his oppreffions on account of thefe debts, Confultation 26th 
November 1770. *^ Still I undertook, firft, the payment of the money belonging to the 
^ company, who are my kind friends, and by borrowing, and mortgaging myjewelsy &c. 
" by taiingfrom every one ofmy/ervanU in proportion to their circumftances, hyfrejhfeve^ 
** rittes alfo on my country, notwithjianding its dtftrejfed Jlate^ as you know."— The Board's 
remark is as follows ; after controverting fone of the fa£b, they fay, *^ that his countries 
'^ are opprefled is moft certain, but not from real neceflity ; his debts indeed have afforded 
** him a conftant pretence for ufing feverities and cruel oppreffions." 

t See Confultation 28th January 1781, where It is aflerted, and not denied, that the na- 
bob's farmers of revenue, feldom continue for three months together. From this the fiatc 
of the country may be eafily judged of. 

3 S 2 Every 



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500 STEEGH ON THE 

Every man of rank and landed fortune being long fince 
extinguiftied, the remaining miferable laft culttvatory who 
grows to the foil, after having his back fcorcd by the 
farmer, has it again flayed by the whip of the ai&gnee, and 
is thus by a ravenous, becaufe a ,(hort-lived fucceffion of 
claimants, lafhed frona oppreffor to oppreffor, whilft a fingle 
drop of blood is left as the means of extorting a fingle grain 
of corn. Do not think I paint. Far, very far from it ; I 
do not reach the fad:, nor approach to it. Men of refpe^fta- 
ble condition, men equal to your fubftantial Englifti yeo* 
men, are daily tied up and fcourged to anfwer the multiplied 
demands of various contending and contradicSlory titles, all 
ifiuing from one and the fame fource. Tyrannous exac- 
tion brings on fervile concealment ; and that again calls 
forth tyrannous coercion. They move in a circle, mutually 
producing and produced ; till at length nothing of huma- 
nity is left in the government, no trace of integrity, fpirif, 
or manlinefs in the people, who drag out a precarious and 
degraded exiftence under this fyftem of outrage upon hu- 
man nature. Such is the effe£t of the eftablilhment of a 
debt to the company, as it has hitherto been managed, and 
as it ever will remain, until ideas are adopted totally dif- 
ferent from thofe which prevail at this timci 

Your worthy minifters, fupporting what they are obliged 
to condemn, have thought fit to renew the company's old 
order againft eontradting private debts in future. They be- 
gin by rewarding the violation* of the antient law ; and 
then they gravely re-enaA provifions, of which they have 
given bounties for the breach. This inconfiftency has been 
well expofed *.. But what will you fay ta their having gone 
the length of giving pofitive direftions for contra<5ting the: 
debt which they pofitively forbid? 

• IfiMr.Pox'sfpepdi*. 

twill 



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' ,•;^ 



NABOB OF ARGOT'^ DEBTS. 50^ 

I will explain myfelf. They order the nabob, out of the 

revenues of the Carnatic, to allot four hundred and eighty 

thoufand pounds a year, as a fund for the debts before us. 

For the pundlual payment of this annuity, they order him 

to give foucar fecurity *. When a foucar^ that is a money 

dealer, becomes fecurity for any native prince, the courfe is, 

for the native prince to counterfecure the money dealer, by 

making over to him in mortgage a portion of his territory, 

equal to the fum annually to be paid, with an intereft of 

at leaft twenty-four jft^r cent. The point fit for the houfe 

to know is, who are thefe foucars, to whom this fecurity on 

the revenues in favour of the nabob's creditors is to be 

given? The majority of the houfe, unaccuftomed to thefe 

tranfadtions, will hear with aftonifhment that thefe foucars 

are no other than the creditors themfelves. The minifter, not 

content with authorizing thefe tranfa6tions in a manner and: 

to an extent unhoped for by the rapacious expecftations of 

ufury itfelf, loads the broken back of the Indian revenues, in 

favour of his worthy friends the foucars, with an' additional 

twenty-four />^r r^«/. for being fecurity to themfelves for 

their own claims ; for condefcending to take the country in: 

mortgage, to pay to themfelves the fruits of their own: 

extortions, , 

The intereft to> be paid for this fecurity, according to the- 
moft moderate ftrain of foucar demand, comes to one hun- 
dred and eighteen thoufand pounds a year, which added to 
the ^,480,000 on which it is to accrue, will make the whole 
charge on account of thefe debts on the Garnatic revenues 
amount to iC« 59^>ooo a year, as much as evert a long peace 
will enable thoife revenues to produce. Can any one refle<ft 
for a moment on all thofe claims of debt, which the minifter 
exhaufts himfelf in contrivances to augment with. new. 

♦ The amended Letter, Appendix N** 6 B* 

ufuries,, 



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502 SPEECH ON THE 

ufuries, without lifting up his hands and eyes in afto- 
nifhment of the impudence, both of the claim and of the 
adjudication ? Services of fome kind or other thefe fervants 
of the company muft have done, fo great and eminent, that 
the chancellor of the exchequer cannot think that all they 
have brought home is half enough. He halloos after them, 
^^ Gentlemen, you have forgot a large packet behind you, 
^^ in your hurry ; you have not fufficiently recovered your- 
^^ felves; you ought to have, and you fliall have, intereft 
^* upon intereft, upon a prohibited debt that is made up of 
^ intereft upon intereft. Even this is too little- I have 
** thought of another charadler for you, by which you may 
^* add fomething to your gains ; you fliall be fecurity to 
^^ yourfelves ; and hence will arife a new ufury, which fhall 
*^ efiace the memory of all the ufuries fuggefted to you by 
** your own dull inventions." 

I have done with the arrangement relative to the Carnatic. 
After this it is to little purpofe to obferve on what the 
minifters have done to Tanjore. Your minifters have not 
obferved even form and ceremony in their outrageous 
and infulting robbery of that country, whofe only crime 
has been, its early and conftant adherence to the power 
of this, and the fuffering of an uniform pillage in con- 
fequence of it. The debt of the company from the ra- 
jah of Tanjore, is juft of the fame ftuff with that of the 
nabob of Arcot. 

The fublidy from Tanjore, on the arrear of which this 
pretended debt (if any there be) has accrued to the com- 
pany, is not, like that paid by the nabob of Arcot, a com- 
penfation for vaft countries obtained, augmented, and 
preferved for him ; not the price of pillaged treafuries, ran- 
facked houfes, and plundered territories. — It is a large grant, 
from a fmall kingdom not obtained by our arms ; robbed, 
6 not 



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NABOB OF ARGOT'S DEBTS- 505 

not protedled by our power ; a grant for which no equiva?- 
lent was ever given, or pretended to be given* The right 
honourable gentleman, however, bears witnefs in his re- 
ports to the punctuality of the payments of this grant of 
bounty, or, if you pleafe, of fear. It amounts to one hun- 
dred and lixty thoufand pound fterling net annual fubfidy,. 
He bears witnefs to a further grant of a town and port, with 
an annexed diftridt of thirty thoufand pound a year, furren- 
dered to the company fince the firft donation* He has not 
borne witnefs, but thefacSt is, (he will not deny it) that ia 
the midft of war, and during the ruin and defolation of a. 
confiderable part of his territories, this prince made many 
very large payments. Notwithftanding thefe merits and 
fervices, the firft regulation of miniftry is to force frona. 
him a territory of an extent which they have not yet 
thought proper to aftertain, for a military peace eftablifli- 
ment, the particulars of which they have not yet beea 
pleafed to fettk* 

The next part of their arrangement is with regard to 
war. As confefledly this prince had no fhare in ftirrihg up 
any of the former wars, fo all future wars are completely 
out of his power ; for he has no troops whatever, and is 
under a ftipulation not fo much as to correfpond with any 
foreign ftate, except through the company. Yet, in cafe the 
company^s fervants ftiould be again involved ia war^ or 
ihould think proper again to provoke any enemy, as ia 
times paft they have wantonly provoked all India, he is to 
be fubje<Sted to a new penalty. To what penalty ? — Why> 
to no lefs than the confifcation of all his revenues. But 
this is to end with the war, and they are to be faithfully 
returned ? — Oh ! . no ; nothing like it. The country is to 
remain under confifcation until all the debt which the com- 
pany fhall think fit to incur in fuch war fhall be difcharged^ 

that 



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504 SPEECH ON THE 

that is to fay, for ever. His fole comfort is to find his old 
enemy^ the nabob of Arcot, placed in the very fame con- 
dition. 

The revenues of that miferahle country were, before the 
• invalion of Hyder, reduced to a grofs annual receipt of three 
hundred and fixty thoufand pound *^ From this receipt the 
. fubfidy I have juft ftated is taken. This again, by payments 
in advance, by extorting depofits of additional fums to a 
'vaft amount for the benefit of their foucars, and by an end- 
•lefs variety of other extortions, public and private, is loaded 
with a debt, the amount of which I never could afcertain, 
hut which is large undoubtedly, generating an ufury the 
moft completely ruinous that probably was ever heard 
of; ibat is, forty-eigbt per cent, payable tmntbly, mtb com* 
pound inter eft +. 

Such is the ftate to which the company's fervants have 
reduced that country. Now come the reformers, reftorers, 
and comforters of India. What have they done ? In addi- 
tion to all thefc tyrannous exaiSlions with all thefe ruinous 
debts in their train, looking to one fide of an agreement 
whilft they wilfully (hut their eyes to the other, they with- 
draw from Tanjore all the benefits of the treaty of 1762, 
and they fubje(5t that nation to a perpetual tribute of forty 
thoufand a year to the nabob of Arcot ; a tribute never due, 
or pretended to be due to bim^ even when he appeared to be 
iomething ; a tribute, as things now Hand, not to a real po- 
tentate, but to a (hadow, a dream, an incubus of oppreffion. 
After the company has accepted in fubfidy, in grant of ter- 
ritory, in remiflion of rent, as a compenfation for their own 
protection, at leait two hundred thoufand pound a year, 
without difcounting a (hilling for that receipt, the mi- 
nifters condemn this harafied nation to be tributary to a 

•• M». Pttrie's evidence before the fekft committee, App. f Appendix, N" . 

a perfon 



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NABOB OF ARGOT'S DEBTS. 505 

perfon who is himfelf, by their own arrangement, deprived 
of the right of war or peace ; deprived of the power of the 
fword ; forbid to keep up a fingle regiment of foldiers; and is 
therefore wholly difabled from all protection of the coun- 
try which is the objedt of the pretended tribute. Tribute 
hangs on the fword. It is an incident infeparable from real 
fovereign i)ower. In the prefent cafe to fuppofe its ex- 
iftence, is as abfurd as it is cruel and oppreffive. And here, 
Mr. Speaker, you have a clear exemplification of the ufe of 
thofe falfe names, and falfe colours, which the gentlemen 
who have lately taken pofleflion of India choofe to lay on 
for the purpofe of difguifing their plan of oppreflSon. The 
nabob of Arcot, and rajah of Tanjore, have," in truth and 
fubftanc^ no more than a merely civil authority^ held in the 
moft entire dependence on the company. The nabobs with- 
out military, without federal capacity, is extinguifhed as a 
potentate ; but then he is carefully kept alive as an inde- 
pendent and fovereign power, for the purpofe of rapine and 
extortion ; fop the purpofe of perpetuating the old intrigues, 
animofities, ufuries, and corruptions. 

It was not enough that this mockery of tribute, was to be 
continued without the correfpondent protedlion, or any of 
the ftipulated equivalents, but ten years of arrear, to the 
amount of j^. 400,000 fterling, is added to all the debts to 
the company, and to individuals, in order to create a new 
debt, to be paid (if at allpoflible to be paid in whole or in 
part) only by new ufuries ; and all this for the nabob of Ar- 
cot, or rather for Mr. Benfield, and the corps of the nabob's 
creditors, and their foucars. Thus thefe miferable Indian, 
princes are continued in their feats, for no other purpofe 
than to render them in the firft inftance objedls of every 
fpecies of extortion ; and in the fecond, to force them to- be- 
come, for the fake of a momentary ihadow of reduced au- 

VOL. II. 3 T thority, 



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5o6 SPEECH ON THE 

thority, a fort of fubordiQate tyrants, the ruin and calamity, 
not the fathers and cherilhers, of their people. 

But take this tribute only as a mere charge (without title, 
caufe, or equivalent) on this people ; what one ftep has been 
taken to furnifh grounds for a juft calculation and eftimate 
of the proportion of the burthen and the ability ? None ; 
not an attempt at it. TAey do not adapt the burthen to the 
Hrength ; but they eftimate the ftrength of the bearers by 
the burthen they impofe. Then what care is taken to leave 
a fund fufficient to the future reproduction of the revenues 
that are to bear all thefe loads ? Every one, but tolerably 
converfant in Indian affairs, muft: know that the exiftence of 
this little kingdom depends on its control over the river Ca- 
very. The benefits of heaven to any community, ought 
never to be connected with political arrangements, or made 
to depend on the perfbnal conduct of princes v in which the 
miftake, or error, or negle^, or diftrefs, or paflion of a mo- 
ment on either fide, may bring famine on millions, and 
ruin an innocent nation perhaps for ages. The means of 
the fubfiftence of mankind fhould be as immutable as the 
laws of nature, let power and dominion take what Courfe 
they may.— Obferve what has been done with regard to this 
important concern. The ufe of this river is indeed at length 
given to the rajah, and a power provided for its enjoyment 
at bis own charge ; but the means of furniOiing that charge 
-(and a mighty one it is) are wholly cut off. This ofe of the 
■water, which ought to have no more connexion than clouds 
and rr.ins, and fundiine, with the politics of the rajah, the 
nabob, or the company, is exprefsly contrived as a means of 
enforcing demands and arrears of tribute. This horrid and 
unnatural inftrurhent of extortion had been a diftinguifhing 
feature in the enormities of the Carnatic politics that loudly 
called for reformation. But the food of a whole people is 

by 



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NABOB OF ARGOT'S DEBTS. 507 

by the reformers of India conditioned on payments from its 
prince, at a moment that he is overpowered with a fwarm of 
their demands, without regard to the ability of either prince 
or people. In fine, by opening an avenue to the irruption 
of the nabob of Arcot's creditors and foucars, whom every 
man who did not fall in love with oppreffion and corruption 
on an experience of the calamities they produced, would 
have raifed wall before wall, and mound before mound, to 
keep from a poflibility of entrance, a more deftrudtive 
enemy than Hyder Ali is introduced into that kingdom. By 
this part of their arrangement, in which they eftablilh a debt 
to the nabob of Arcot, in effe(5t and fubftance, they deliver 
over Tanjore, bound hand and foot, to Paul Benfield, the 
old betrayer, infulter, oppreflbr, and fcourge of a country, 
which has for years been an dbje<St of an unremitted, but 
unhappily an unequal flxuggle, between the bounties of 
Providence to renovate, and the wickednefs of mankind to 
deftroy. 

The right honourable gentleman * talks of his faimefs in 
determining the territorial difpute between the nabob of 
Arcot and the prince of that country^ when he fuperfedecl 
the determination of the directors, in whom the law had 
vefted the decifion of that controvcrfy. He is in this juil 
as feeble as he is in every other part. But it is not necel^ 
fary to fay a word in refutation of any part of his argument. 
The mode of the proceeding fufficiently fpeaks the fpirit of 
it. It is enough to fix his chara^er as a judge, that he ne- 
ver beard the dire&ors in defence of their adjudication, nor ei- 
ther of the parties infupport of their refpeSiive claims. It is 
fufficient for me, that he takes from the rajah of Tanjore, 
by this pretended adjudication, or rather from his unhappy 
fubjecSts, >C» 40>ooo a year of his and their revenue, and leaves 

* Mr. Dundas. 

3 T 2 vipon 



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5o8 SPEECH ON THE 

upon his and their ihoulders all the charges that can be 
made on the part of the nabob, on the part of his creditors, 
and on the part of the company, without- fo much as hear- 
ing him as to right or to ability. But what principally in- 
duces me to leave the aflfair of the territorial difpute between 
the nabob and the rajah to another day, is this, that both- 
the parties being ftripped of their all, it little fignifies under 
which of their names the unhappy undone people are de- 
livered over to the mercilefs foucars, the allies of that right 
honourable gentleman, and the chancellor of the exchequer. 
In them ends the account of this long difpute of the nabob 
of Arcot, and the rajah of Tanjore. 

The right honourable gentleman is of opinion, that his 
judgment in this cafe can be cenfured by none but thofe 
who feem to a<St as if they were paid agents to one of the 
parties. What does he think of his court of direjStors ? If 
they are paid by either of the parties, by which of them 
does he think they are paid ? He knows that their decifion 
has been dire<Stly contrary to his. Shall I believe that it 
does not enter into his heart to conceive, that any perfbn 
can fteadily and actively intereft himfelf in the protection of 
the injured and opprefled, without being well paid for his 
fcrvice ? I have taken notice of this fort of difcourfe fome 
days ago, fo far as it may be fuppofcd to relate to me. I 
then contented myfelf, asr I ftiall now do, with giving it a 
cold, though a very direct contradiction. Thus much I do 
from refpCiSt to truth. If I did more, it might be fuppofed, 
by my anxiety to clear myfelf, that I had imbibed the ideas, 
which, for obvious reafons, the right honourable gentleman 
wilhes to have received concerning all attempts to plead the 
caufe of the natives of India, as if it were a difreputable em- 
ployment. If he had not forgot, in his jM-efent occupation, 
every principle which ought to have guided him, and I hope 

did 



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NABOB OF ARCOT^s DEBTS. 509 

did guide him, in his late profeflion, he would have known, 
that he who takes a fee for pleading the caufe of diftrefs 
againft power, and manfully performs the duty he has af- 
fumed, receives an honourable recompence for a virtuous 
fervice. But if the right honourable gentleman will have 
no regard to fadl in his infinuations, or to reafon in his opi- 
nions, I wifli him at leaft to confider, that if taking an earneft 
part with regard to the oppreffions exercifed in India, and 
with regard to this moft oppreflive cafe of Tanjore in parti- 
cular, can ground a prefumption of interefted motives, he 
is himfelf the maft mercenary man I know. His condudl 
indeed is fuch that he is on all occafions the Handing teftl- 
mony againft himfelf. He it was that firft called to that 
cafe the attention of the houfe : the reports of his own com- 
mittee are ample and affeiting upon that fubje£l * ; and as 
.many of us as have efcaped his malTacre, muft- remember 
the very pathetic pidture he made of the fufferings of the 
Tanjore country, on the day when he moved the unwieldy 
code of his Indian refolutions. Has he not ftated over and 
over again in- his reports, the ill treatment of the rajah of 
Tanjore, (a branch of the royaJ houfe of the Marattas, every 
injury to whom the Marattas felt as offered to themfelves) as 
a main caufe of the alienation of that people from the Britiih 
power? And does he now think, that to betray his principles, 
to contradict his declarations, and to become himfelf an 
adlive inftrument in thofe oppreffions which he had fo tra- 
gically lamented, is the way to clear himfelf of having been 
a(5hiated by a pecuniary intereft, at the time when he chofe 
to appear fidl of tendernefs to that ruined nation ? 

The right honourable gentleman is fond of parading on 
the motives of others, and on his own. As to himfelf, he 

• Sec Report IV. Committee of Secrecy, p. 73, and 74; and Appendix in fimdry. 
phices. 

defpifes* 



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510 SPEECH ON THE 

defpifes the imputations of thofe who fuppofe that any 
thing corrupt could influence him in this his unexampled 
liberality of the public treafure. I do not know that I am 
obliged to fpeak to the motives of miniftry, in the arrange- 
ments they have made of the pretended debts of Arcot and 
Tanjore. If I prove fraud and collufion with regard to pub- 
lic money on thofe right honourable gentlemen, I am not 
obliged to ailign their motives ; becaufe no good motives 
can be pleaded in favour of their condu<St, Upon that cafe 
I ftand ; we are at iffue ; and 1 defire to go to trial. This, I 
am fure, is not loofe railing, or mean infinuation, according 
to their low and degenerate fafhion, when they make attacks 
on the meafures of their adverfaries. It is a regular and ju- 
ridical courfe ; and, unlefs I choofe it, nothing can compel 
me to go further. 

But fince thefe unhappy gentlemen have dared to hold a 
lofty tone about their motives, and afFe<5t to defpife fufpicion, 
inftead of being careful not to give caufe for it, I Ihall beg 
leave to lay before you fome general obfervations on what I 
conceive was their duty in fo delicate a bufinefs. 

If I were worthy to fuggeft any line of prudence to that 
right honourable gentleman, I would tell him, that the way 
to avoid fufpicion in the fettlement of pecuniary tranfac- 
tions, in which great frauds have been very ftrongly pre- 
fumed, is, to attend to thefe few plain principles : — Firft, to 
hear all parties equally, and not the managers for the fuf- 
pe6ted claimants only, — Not to proceed in the dark ; but to 
a6t with as much publicity as poflible. — Not to precipitate 
decifion. — To.be religious in following the rules prefcribed 
in the commiffion under whith we a<St. And, laftly, and 
above all, not to be fond of Itraining conftrudtions, to force 
a jurifdi<5tion, and to draw to ourfelves the management of 
a truft in its nature invidious and obnoxious to fufpicion, 

where 



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NABOB OF ARCOT^s DEBTS. 511 

where the plaineft letter of the law does not compel it. If 
thefe few plain rules are obferved, no corruption ought to 
be fufpe6led ; if any of them are violated, fufpicion will , 
attach in proportion. If all of them are violated, a cor* 
rupt motive of fome kind or other will not only be fuf- 
pedted, but muft be violently prefumed. 

The perfons in whofe favour all thefe rules have been 
violated, and the conduit of minifters towards them, will 
naturally call for your confideration, and will ferve to lead 
you through a feries and combination of fadls and charac- 
ters, if I do not miftake, into the very inmoft recelles of this 
myfterious bu^nefs. You will then be in poffeflion of all 
the materials on which the principles of found jurifprudence 
will found, or will rejeiSt the prefumption of corrupt mo- 
tives ; or if fuch motives are indicated, will point out to you 
of what particular nature the corruption is.. 

Ovir wonderful minifter, as you all know, formed a new 
plan, a plan injigne recens alio Indicium ore^ a plan for fup* 
porting the freedom of our conftitution by court intrigues^ 
and foF removing its corruptions by Indian delinquency. 
To carry that bold paradoxical defign into execution, fuffi- 
cient funds and apt inftruments became neceflary. You 
are perfecSlly fenfible that a parliamentary reform occupies 
his thoughts day and night, as an eflential member in this 
extraordinary proje6t. In his anxious refearches upon this 
fubjedt, natural inftindt, as well as found policy, wpttld dire<5t 
his eyes, and fettle his choice on Paul Benfield. Paul 
Benfield is the grand parliamentary reformer, the reformer 
to whom the whole choir of reformers bow, and to whom 
even the right honovirable gentleman himfelf muft yield the 
palm : For what region in the empire, what city, what bo- 
rough, what county, what tribunal, in this kingdom, is not 
full of his labours ? Others have been only fpeculators \ he 
6 i& 



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512 SPEECH ON THE 

is the grand practical reformer ; and whilft the chancellor 
of the exchequer pledges in vain the man and the minifter, 
to increafe the provincial members, Mr. Benfield has aufpi- 
cioully and pradtically begun it. Leaving far behind him 
even lord Camelford's generous delign of bellowing Old 
Sarum on the bank of England, Mr. Benfield has throwti 
in the borough of Cricklade to reinforce the county repre- 
fentation. Not content with this, in order to ftation a 
Heady phalanx for all future reforms, this public-fpirited 
ufurer, amidft his charitable toils for the relief of India, 
did not forget the poor rotten conftitution of his native 
country. For her, he did not difdain to ftoop to the trade 
of a wholefale upholfterer for this houfe, to furnifli it, not 
with the faded tapeftry figures of antiquated merit, fuch as 
decorate, and may reproach fome other houfes, but with 
real, folid, living patterns of true modern virtue. Paul 
Benfield made (reckoning himfelf) no fewer than eight 
members in the laft parliament. What copious ftreams of 
pure blood mufl he not have transfuled into the veins of the 
prefent ! 

But what is even more flriking than the real fervices of 
this new-imported patriot, is his mddefly. As foon as he 
had conferred this benefit on the conftitution, he withdrew 
himfelf from our applaufe. He conceived that the duties 
of a member of parliament (which with the ele6t faithful, 
the true believers, the IJlam.oi parliamentary reform, are of 
little or no merit, perhaps not much better than fpecious 
fins) might be as well attended to in India as in England, 
and the means of reformation to parliament itfelf, be far 
better provided^. Mr. Benfield was therefore no fooner 
elected than he fet off for Madras, and defrauded the longing 
eyes of parliament. We have never enjoyed in this houfe the 
luxury of beholding that minion, of the human race, and con- 
^^ templating 



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NABOB or ARGOT'S DBBTS. $i$ 

templating that vifage, which has fo long refle£ted the 
happinefs of nations. 

It was therefore not poflible for the minifter to confult 
perfonally with this great man. What then was he to do ? 
Through a fagacity that never failed him in thefe purfuitSy 
he found out in Mr. Benfield*s reprelJentatiye, his exzA re- 
femblance. A fpecific attra<5tion by which he gravitates 
towards all fuch characters, foon brought our miniflser into 
a clofe connection with Mr. Benfield's agent and attorney ; 
that is, with the grand contractor (whom I name to honour) 
Mr, Richard Atkinfon ; a name that will be well remem- 
bered as long as the records of this houfe, as long as the 
records of the Britifh treafury, as long as the monumental 
debt of England fhall endure. 

This gentleman. Sir, aCts as attorney for Mr. Paul Ben- 
field. Every one who hears me, is well acquainted with the 
facred friendfhipy and the fteady mutual attachment that 
fubfifts between him and the prefent miniiter. As many 
members as chofe to attend in the firft feflGion of this par- - 
liament, can belt tell their own feelings at the fcenes which 
were then aCted. How much that honourable gentleman 
was confulted in the original frame and fabric of the bill, 
commonly called Mr. Pitt*s India bill, is matter only of con- 
jecture ; though by no means difficult to divine. But the 
public was an indignant witnefs of the oftentation with 
which that meafure was made his own, and the authority 
with which he brought up daufe after claufe, to ftuflf and 
fatten the ranknefs of that corrupt aCt. As faft as the 
daufes were brought up to the table, they were accepted. 
No hefitation ; no difcuilion. They were received by the 
new minifter, not with approbation, but with implicit fub- 
million. The reformation may be eftimated, by feeing 
who was the reformer. Paul Benfield's afibciate and agent 

Vol. 11. 3 U was 



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514 SPEECH ON THE 

was held up to the world as legiflator of ladoftan. ^ut it 
was neceflary to authenticate the coalition between the men 
of intrigue in India and the minifter of intrigue in England, 
by a ftudied difplay of the power of this their connedting" 
link. Every truft, every honour, every diftindtion, was to 
be heaped upon him. He was at once made a director of 
the India company ; made an alderman of London ; and to 
be made, if miniftry could prevail (and I am fdrry to fay 
how near, how very near they were prevailing) reprefenta- 
tive of the capital of this kingdom. But to fecure his fer- 
vices againft all rifque, he was brought in for a minifterial 
borough. On his part, he was not wanting in zeal for the 
common caufe. His advert ifements ihew his motives, and 
the merits upon which he flood. For your minifter, this, 
worn-out veteran fubmitted to enter into the dufty field of 
the London conteft ; and you all remember, that in the^ 
feme virtuous caufe, he fubmitted to keep a fort of public 
office^ or counting* hoiife, where the whole bufinefs of the 
kft -general ele6tion was managed. It was openly managed 
by the dire^SE- agent and attorney of Benfield. It was ma- 
naged upon. Indian. principles, and for an Indian intereft. 
'^'his was the goldeii cup of abominations; this the chalice- 
of the'fotnrcatious;ofirkpinei, ufury, and oppreffion, which 
was held out 'by ihe'gorgeous eaftem harlot ; which fo 
many o£thje;people>Ioinariy of the nobles of this land, had 
drained to the very dregs.-. Do you think that no reckoning 
>4^as^ to folla\Y this lewd debauch ? that not payment was to 
be demanded afbr this riot .t)f public >dn3nkennefs. and na- 
tibnal.proflitution?' ll^re! you have if^here. before you;. 
The ptincipal of rhe. grand elo£tai!)n managermuft be in- 
demnified:? accordingly the t:laim8 of Benfield and his crew; 
x»u(t be put ^bave all enquiry.: ,; . r. ^ 1 .- 
r iBor lJsy£rai.ycai3,2BejQfield .appearedins^^the-dhief' pro^ 
ru.v \j £ ...piiet€r>, 



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NABOB OF ARCOT^s DEBTS. 515 

prietor, as well as the chief agent, diredtor, and cx)ntroller, 
of this fyftem of debt. The worthy chairman of the com- 
pany has ftated the claims of this lingle gentleman on the 
nabob of Arcot, as amounting to five hundred thoufand 
pound *. Poflibly at the time of the chairman's ftate, 
they might have been as high. Eight hundred thou- 
fand had been mentioned fome time before t; and accord- 
ing to the practice of fhifting the names of creditors in 
thefe tranfacStions, and reducing or railing the debt itfelf 
at pleafure, I think it not impoffible, that at one period, the 
name of Benfield might have flood before thofe frightful 
figures. But my befl information goes to fix his fhare no 
higher than four hundred thoufand pounds. By the fcheme 
of the prefent miniflry for adding to the principal twelve' 
per cent, from the year 1777 to the year 1781, four hundred 
thoufand pounds, that fmalleft of the fums ever mentioned 
for Mr. Benfield, will form a capital of JT. 592,000, at fix per 
cent. Thus, befides the. arrears of three years, amounting 
tOj(*. 106,500 (which, as fafl as received, may be legally lent 
out at i^ per cent.) Benfield has received by the miniflerial 
grant before you, an annuity of ^. 35,500 a year, charged on 
the public revenues. 

Our mirror of miniflers of finance, did not think this 
enough for the fervices of fuch a friend as Benfield. He 
found that lord Macartney, in order to frighten the court of 
directors from the project, of obliging the nabob to give 
foucar fecurity for his debt, afTured them, that if they fhould 
take that ftep, Benfield % would infallibly be the foucar ; and 
would thereby become the entire mafler of the Garnatic. 
What lord Macartney thought fufficient to deter the very 
agents and partakers with Benfield in his iniquities, was- 

* Mr. Smith's Proteft. f Madras correfpondence on this fubje£fc. 

X Appendix N* 5 A, 

3 U a the 



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5i6 SPEECH ON THE 

the inducement to the two right honourable gentlemen to 
order this very foucar fecurity to be given, and to recal 
Benfield to the city of Madras, from the fort of decent exile, 
into which he had be§n relegated by lord Macartney. You 
muft therefore confider Benfield, as foucar fecurity for 
£. 480,000 a year, which at twenty-four per cent, (fuppo- 
ling him contented with that profit) will, with the interelt 
of his dd debt, produce an annual income of ^. 149,520 a 
year. 

Here is a fpecimen of the new and pure ariftocracy 
created by the right honourable gentleman*, as the fup- 
port of the crown and conftitution, againfl the old, corrupt, 
refractory, natural interefts of this kingdom; and this is die 
grand counterpoife againfl all odious coalitions of theie in- 
terefls. A fingle Benfield outweighs them all ; a criminal, 
who long fince ought to have fattened the region kites 
with his oflfal, is, by his majefty's minifters, enthroned in the 
government of a great kingdom, and enfeoflfed with an 
eilate, which in the comparifon effaces the fpkndor of aU 
the nobility of Europe. To bring a little more di<aindUy 
into view the true fecret of this dark tranfadion, I beg you 
particularly to advert to the circumflances which I am going 
to place before you. 

The general corps of creditors, as wdl as Mr. Benfield 
himfelf, not looking well inta futurity, nor prefaging the 
minifter of this day, thought it not expedient for their com- 
mon intereft, that fuch a name as his ihould fland at the 
head of their lift^ It was therefore agreed amongft them,, 
that Mr. Benfield ihould difappear by making over his debt 
to MefTrs. Taylor, Majendie, and Call> and fik>uld in return 
be fecured by their bond. 

The debt thus exonerated of fo great a weight of its. 

f Right honourable William Pitt. 

odium,,, 



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NABOB OF ARGOT'S DEBTS. ^17 

odium; and otherwife reduced from its alarming bulk, the 
agents thought they might venture to print a lift of the 
creditors. This was done for the firft time in the year 1783, 
during the duke of Portland's adminiftration» In this lift 
the name of Benfield was not to be feen. To this ftrong 
negative teftimony was added the further tcftimony of the 
nabob of Arcot. That prince * (or rather Mr. Benfield for 
him) writes to the court of dire<ftors a letter + full of com- 
plaints and accufations againft lord Macartney, conveyed in 
fuch terms as were natural for one of MrrBenfieWs habits and 
education to employ. Amongft the reft, he is made to com- 
plain of his lordlhip's endeavouring to prevent an intercourfe 
of politenefs and fentiment between him and Mr. Benfield ; 
and to aggravate the affront, he exprefsly declares Mr. 
Benfield*s vifits to be only on account of refpedt and of 
gratitude, as no pecuniary tranfaditions fubfifted between 
them. 

Such, for a confiderable fpace of time, was the outward 
form of the loam of I777r in which Mr. Benfield had no fort 
of concern. At length intelligence arrived at Madras, that 
this debfy which biad always been renounced by the court of 
dire<5tors, was rauher like to become thd fubje<n: of fome- 
thing more Uke a criminal enquiry, than of any patronage or 
fandtion from parliament. Every Ihip brought accounts, one 
ftronger than the other, of the prevalence of the determined 
enemies of the Indian fyftem. The public revenues became 
artobje<Stdefperate to the hopes of Mr. Benfield; he therefore- 
refolvcd to fall opoo his affociates, and„ in violation of that 

• Appendix N» 8. 

+ Datad i3th.O(aober. For furdier iUuftradlon of the ftyle in which thefe letters arc 
written, and the prihciples oil whidl thtiy proceed, fee letters fiom the nabob to the court 
of directors, daMd Atiguit i6tb, and S^pteiihber 7th, 1783^ delmitd by Me. Jatiiei Mac- 
^rtbO). itunifidr to the nabob, Jamiar/ lifftby irjB/iy 

faith 



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5i8 SPEECH ON THE 

fftith which fubfifts among thofe who have abandoned all 
other, commences a fuit in the mayor's court againft Taylor, 
Majendie, and Call, for the bond given to him, when he 
agreed to difappear for his own benefit as well as that of the 
common concern. The affigmees of his debt, who little ex- 
pedted the Springing of this mine, even from fiich an engi- 
neer as Mr. Benfield, after recovering their firft alarm, 
thought it beft to take ground on the real ftate of the tranf- 
axftion. They divulged the whole myftery, and. were pre- 
pared to plead, that they had never received from Mr. Ben- 
field any other confideration for the bond, than a transfer, 
in truft for himfelf, of his demand on the nabob of Arcot. 
An univerfal indignation arofe againft the perfidy of Mr. 
Benfield's proceeding : the event of the fuit was looked upon 
as fo certain, that Benfield was compelled to retreat as pre- 
cipitately as he had advanced boldly; he gave up his bond, 
and was reinftated in his original demand, to wait the for- 
tune of other claimants. At that time, and at Madras, this 
hope was dull indeed ; but at home anoth^er fcene was pre- 
paring. 

It was long before any public account of this difcovery at 
Madras had arrived in England, that ther'prefent minifter, 
and his board of control, thought fit to deterhcline on the 
debt of 1777. The recorded proceedings at this time knew 
nothing of any debt to Benfield. There was his pwn tefti- 
mony ; there was the teftimony of the lift ; there was the 
teftimony of the nabob of Arcot againft it. Yet fnch was 
the minifters' feeling of the true fecret of this tranfadion, 
that they thought proper, in the teeth of all thefe teftimo- 
nies, to give him licence to return to Madras. Here the mi- 
nifters were under fome embarraflhient. Confounded be- 
tween .their refolution of rewarding the good fervices of 
:Benfield's friends and aJGTociates in England, and the ihame 

of 



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NABOB OF ARGOT'S DEBTS. 51^ 

of fending that notorious incendiary to the court of the na- 
bob of Arcot, to renew his intrigues againft the Britilh^ 
government, at the time they authorize his return they for- 
bid him, under the fevereft penalties, from any converfatioa- 
with the nabob or his minifters ; that is, they forbid his 
communication with the very perfon on account of his deal- 
ings with whom they permit his return to that city. To 
overtop this contradi£kion, there is not a word reftraining 
him from the freeft intercourfe with the nabob's fecond 
fon, the real author of all that is done in the nabob's name ;: 
who, in conjundtion with this very Benfield, has acquired 
an abfolute dominion over that unhappy nian, is able to 
perfuade him to put his fignature to whatever paper they 
pleafe, and often without any communication of the con- 
tents. This management was detailed to them at full 
length by lord Macartney, and they cannot pretend igno- 
rance of it •^. 

1 believe, after this expofure of fadls, no man can enter- 
tain a doubt of the colkilion of minifters with the corrupt' 
intereft of the delinquents in India. Whenever thofe in 
authority provide for the intereft of any perfon> on the real: 
but concealed ftate of his affairs, without regard to his avow- 
ed, public, and oftenfible pretences, it muft be prefumed: 
that they are in confederacy with him, becaufe they adl for 
him on the fame fraudulent principles on which he adts for 
himfelf. It is plain, that the minifters were fully apprifed 
of Benfield's real lituation, which he had ufed means to. 
conceal whilft concealment anfwered his purpofes. They 
were, or the perfon on whom they relied was, of the ca- 
binet council of Benfield, in the very depth of all his myf- 
t«ries.. An honeft magiftrate compels men to abide by one 

• Appendix^ F.;. 

w flory.. 



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SW SPEECH ON THE 

ftory. An equitable judge would not hear of the claim of a 
man who had hirpfelf thought proper to renounce it. With 
fuch a judge his fliuffling and prevarication would have 
damned his claims ; fuch a judge never would have known, 
but in order to animadvert upon proceedings of that cha- 
racter. 

I have thus laid before you, Mr. Speaker, I think with 
fufficient clearnefs, the connection of the minifters with Mr. 
Atkinfon at the general ele<5tion ; I have laid open to you 
the conne<5tion of Atkinfon with Benfield; I have Ihewn 
Benfield*s employment of his wealth, in creating a parlia- 
mentary intereft, to procure a minifterial protection ; I have 
fet before your eyes his large concern in the debt, his prac- 
tices to hide that concern from the public eye, and the libe- 
ral protection which he has received from the minifter. If 
this chain of circumttances do not lead you neceffarily to 
conclude that the minifter has paid to the avarice of Ben- 
field the fervices done by Benfield's connections to his am- 
bition, I do not know any thing (hort of the confeffion of 
the party that can perfuade you of his guilt. Clandeftine 
and collufive practice can only be traced by combination 
and comparifon of circumftances. To rejeCt fuch com- 
bination and comparifon is to rejeCt the only means of de- 
tecting fraud ; it is indeed to give it a patent and free licence 
to cheat with impunity. 

I confine myfelf to the connection of minifters, mediately 
or immediately, with only two perfons concerned in this 
debt. How many others, who fupport their power and 
greatnefs within and without doors, are concerned original- 
ly, or by transfers of thefe debts, muft be left to general 
opinion. I refer to the reports of the feleCt committee for 
the proceedings of fome of the agents in thefe aflfairs, and 
* their 



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NABOB OF ARGOT'S DEBTS. 521 

their attempts, at leaft, to furnifli minifters with the means 
of buying general courts, and even whole parliaments, in 
the grofs *. 

I know that the minifters will think it little lefs than ac- 
quittal, that they are not charged with having taken to 
themfelves fome part of the money of which they have made 
fo liberal a donation to their partizans, though the charge 
may be indifputably fixed upon the corruption of their po- 
litics. For my part, I follow their crimes to that point to 
which legal prefumptions and natural indications lead me, 
without confidering what fpecies of evil motive tends moft 
to aggravate or to extenuate the guilt of their condudl. But 
if I am to fpeak my private fentiments, I think that in a 
thoufand cafes for one it would be far lefs mifchievous to 
the public, and full as little diftionourable to themfelves, to 
be polluted with direct bribery, than thus to become a 
Handing auxiliary to the oppreflion, ufury, and peculation 
of multitudes, in order to obtain a corrupt fupport to their 
power. It is by bribing, not fo often by being bribed, that 
wicked politicians bring ruin on mankind. Avarice is a rival 
to the purfuits of many. It finds a multitude of checks, 
and many oppofers, in every walk of life. But the objedls 
of ambition are for the few ; and every perfon who aims at 
indiredt profit, and therefore wants other prote6tion than 
innocence and law, inftead of its rival, becomes its inftru- 
ment. There is a natural allegiance and fealty due to this 
domineering paramount evil, from all the vaflal vices, which 
acknowledge its fuperiority, and readily militate under its 
banners ; and it is under that difcipline alone that avarice is 
able to fpread to any confiderable extent, or to render itfelf 
a general public mifchief. It is therefore no apology for 
minifters, that they have not been bought by the Eaft India 

♦ Second Report tf Selcdl (General Smith's) Committee, 

Vol. II. 3 X delinquents, 



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54a SPEECH ON THE 

delinquents, but t^at they have only formed ?in alliance with 
thepi for fcreening each other from juftice» according to the 
exigence of their feveral neceflities. That they have done 
fo is evident; and the jundtion of the power of office in 
England, with the abufe of authority in the eaft, has not 
only prevented even the appearance of retlrefs to the grie- 
vances of India, hut I wiih it may not he found to have 
dulledj if not extinguifhed, the honour, the candour, the 
generofity, the good-nature, which ufed formerly to cha- 
rajSterife the people of England* I confefs* I wifb that fcMue 
more feeling than I have yet obferved for the fuflferings of 
our fellow-creatures and fellow-fubje<Sts in that opprefled 
part of the world, had manifefted itfelf in any one quarter 
of the kingdom, or in any one large defcriptlon of nuen. 

That thefe oppreflions exift, is a fa£t no n>ore denied, thm 
it is refented as it ought to he. Mueb eiviX has be<?a dooc 
in India under the Britifli authority. What has been done 
to redr^fs it ? We are no longer furprized at any thu\g« We 
are above the unlearned and vulgar paffion oif adinirajd.on. 
But it will aftonilh pofterity, when they read our opinions 
in our aftions, that after years of enquiry we have found 
out that the Cole grievance of India conHfted in this, that the 
fervants of the company there had not profited enough of 
their opportunities, nor drained it fufficiently of its trea- 
fures ; when they Ihall hear that the very firft and only im- 
portant a<5t of a commiflion fpecially named by 2^ of parlia- 
ipent, is to charge upom an uoidpnje country, in favoiir of a 
handful of men in the humbleft ranks oi tho public fer- 
vice^ the enormous fum of perhaps i^or millioii^ of fterling 
money. 

It is difficult for the mod wife agid upright gQverumf^ to 
qorre<5t the abufes of remote deliegated pojwer,, prodi^^ve of 
unmeafured wealth,, ^nd. pro.te<^ed. by the boldnefs and 

ftrength 



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d 



NABOB OF AKCOt's DfiBTS. 525 

ftrength of the fame ill-got ricties. Thefe abiifes, full of 
their own wild native vigour, will grow and flourilh under 
mere negle<5t. But where the fupreme authority, not con- 
tent with winking at the rapacity of its inferior inftruments, 
is fo Ihamelefs and corrupt as openly to give bounties and 
premiums for difobedience to its laws ; when it will not truft 
to the adlivity of avarice in the purfuit of its own gains; 
when it fecnres public robbery by aU the careful jealoufy 
and attention with which it ought to prote<5t property from 
fuch violence; the commonwealth then is become totally 
perverted from its purpofes ; neither God nor man will long 
endure it ; nor will it long endure itfelf. In that cafe, there 
is an unnatural infedlion, a peftilential taint fermenting in 
the conftitution of fociety, which fever and convulfions of 
fome kind or other muft throw off; or in which the vital 
pawers, worfted in an unequal ftruggle, are pulhed back 
upon themfelves, and by a reverfal of their whole fundions, 
fefter to gangrene, to death ; and inftead of what was but 
juft now the delight and boaft of the creation, there will be 
caft out in the face of the furt, a bloated, putrid, noifomc 
carcafs, full of Itench and poifon, an Offence, a horror, a lef- 
fon to the world. 

In my opinion, we ought not to wait for the fruitlefs in'* 
ilruiSlion of calamity to enquire into the abufes which bring 
upon us ruin in the worft of its forms, in the lofs of our 
fame and virtue. But the right honourable gentleman* 
fays, in anfwer to all the powerful arguments of my honour- 
able friend — •* that this enquiry is of a delicate nature, and 
« that the ftate will fuffer detriment by the eXpofure of this 
" tranfa<5tion.'* But it is expofed ; it is perfedtly known irt 
every member, in every particle, and in every way, exeept 
that which may lead to a remedy. He knows that the pa- 

* Mtt Duttdai. 

3 X ft pers 



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524 SPEECH ON THE 

pers of correfpondence are printed, and that they are in 
every hand. 

He and delicacy are a rare and a Angular coalition. He 
thinks that to divulge our Indian politics, may be highly 
dangerous. He ! the mover ! the chairman ! the reporter 
of the committee of fecrecy ! he that brought forth in the 
utmoft detail, in feveral vaft printed folios, the moft recon- 
dite parts of the politics, the military, the revenues of the 
Britifh empire in India. With fix great chopping baftards *, 
each, as lufty as an infant Hercules, this delicate creature 
blufhes at the fight of his new bridegroom, affumes a virgin 
delicacy ; or, to ufe a more fit, as well as a more poetic com- 
parifon, the perfon fo fqueamifti, fo timid, fo trembling left 
the winds of heaven fhould vifit too roughly, is expanded to 
broad funfhine, expofed like the fow of imperial augury, 
lying in the mud with all the prodigies of her fertility about 
her, as evidence of her delicate amours — Triginta capitum 
foetus enixa jacebat^ alba folo recubans albi circum ubera 
nati. 

Whilft difcovery of the mifgovernment of others led to 
his own power, it was wife to enquire : it was fafe to pub- 
lifli ; there was then no delicacy; there was then no danger. 
But when his objedt is obtained, and in his imitation he has 
outdone the crimes that he had reprobated in volumes of 
reports, and in flieets of bills of pains and penalties ; then 
concealment becomes prudence ; and it concerns the fafety 
of the ftate, that we fliould not know, in a mode of parlia- 
mentary cognizance, what all the world knows but toa well, 
that is, in what manner he choofes to difpofe of the public 
revenues to the creatures of his politics,. 

The debate has been long, and as much fb on my part, at 
leaft, as on the part of thofe who have fpoken before me* 

« Sk Repom of tbe cominittec of fecrecyi 

Btlt 



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NABOB OF ARGOT'S I>EBTS. 525: 

But long as it is, the more material half of the fubje£t has 
hardly been touched on ; that is, the corrupt and deftru6tive 
fyftem to which this debt has been rendered jfiibfervient, 
and which feems to be purfued with at leaft as much vigour 
and regularity as ever. If I confidered your eafe or my own, 
rather than the weight and importance of this queftion, I 
ought to make fome apology to you, perhaps fome apology 
to myfelf, for having detained your attention folong. I know 
on what ground I tread. Thisfubjedt, at one time taken up- 
with fo much fervour and zeal, is no longer a favourite in 
this hoofe. The houfe itfelf has undergone a great and 
fignal revolution. To fome the fubjedt is ftrange and un- 
couth ; to feveral harfh and diftafteful ; to the reliques of 
the laft parliament it is a matter of fear and apprehenfion.. 
It is natural for thofe who have feen their friends fink in 
the tornado which raged during the late ftiift of the mon* 
.foon, and have hardly efcaped on the planks of the general 
wreck, it is but too natural for them, as foon as they make 
the rocks and quickfands of their former difailers, to put 
about their new-built barks^ and,, as much as poflible, ta 
keep aloof from this perilous lee ftiore. 

But let us do what we pleafe to put India from our 
thoughts, we can do nothing to feparate it from our public 
intereft and our national reputation. ' Our attempts to banifti 
this importunate duty, will only make it return upon us^ 
again and again, and every time in a fhape more unpleafant 
than the former. A government has been fabricated for 
that great province ; the right honourable gentleman fays,, 
that therefore you ought not to examine into its condu<£l*. 
Heavens ! what an argument is this ! We are not to exa- 
mine into the condu<St of the diredlion, becaufe it is an old, 
government : we are not to examine into this board of 
control, becaufe it is a new one- Then we are only to exa- 
z mine: 



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526 SPEECH ON THE 

mine into the conduct of thofe who have no conduA to ac- 
count for. Unfortunately the bafis of this new government 
has been laid on old condemned delinquents, and its fuper- 
ftruiSture is raifed out of profccutors turned into protedlors. 
The event has been fuch as might be expe(5ted. But if it 
had been otherwife conftituted; had it been confhtuted 
even as I wilhed, and as the mover of this queftion had 
planned, the better part of the propofed eftabliftiment was in 
the publicity of its proceedings ; in its perpetual refponfi- 
bility to parliament. Without this check, what is our go- 
vernment at home, even awed, as every European govern- 
ment is, by an audience formed of the other ftates of Europe, 
by the applaufe or condemnation of the difcerning aid cri- 
tical company before which it a6ts ? But if the fcene on the 
other fide of the globe, which tempts, invites, almoft com- 
pels to tyranny and rapine, be not infpeibed with the eye 
of a fevere and unremitting vigilance, ffnime and deftruAion 
muft enfue. For one, the worft event of this day, though 
it may deje<St, (hall not break or fubdue me. The call upon 
us is authoritative. Let who will Ihrink back, I Ihall be 
found at my poft. Baffled, difcountenanced, fubdued, dif- 
credited, as the caufe of juftice and humanity is, it will be 
only the dearer to me. Whoever therefore (hall at any time 
bring before you any thing towards the relief of our di&tffed 
fellow-citizens in India, and towards a fubverfion of thepre- 
fent moft corrupt and oppreflive fyftem for its government, 
in me (hall find, a weak I am afraid, but a (beady, eameft, 
and faithful afliftant. 



APPENDIX. 



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NABOB OF ARCOT^s DEBTS, 547 



APPENDIX. 



CLAUSES OF MR. PITTAS BILL, 

Referred to from p. 438, 

Appointing Commiffioners to enqrrire into the fees, gra- 
tuities, perquifites, and emohiments, which are, or have 
been lately, received in the feveral public offices therein 
mentioned ; to examine into any abufes which may exift 
in the fame, &:c. 

AN D be it farther ei>a«Sted, that it fhall awd may be* 
lawful to and for the fairf commiffioners, or any two» 
of them, and they are hereby impowered, authorized^ and 
required, to exatmne upon oath (which oath they, or aivy two 
of them, are hereby authorized to^ adminifter) the feveral 
perfons, of all defcriptions, belonging to any of the offices 
or departments before mentioned, and all other perfons whona 
the faid commiffioners, or any two of them, fhall think 
fit to examine, touching the bujinefs of each office or depart- 
ment, and the fees^ gratuities y perquijites^ and emoiuments 
taken therein^ and touching all other matters and things 
neceflary for the execution of the powers veiled in the 
faid commiffioners by this a<St ; all which perfons are hereby 
9 required 



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S2S APPENDIX, N* I. 

required and direcSted pun6lually to attend the faid corn- 
mi flioners, af fucb time and place as tbey^ or any two of 
theniy Jball appoint^ and alfo to obferve and execute fucb 
orders and direBions as the faid commiflioners, or any two 
of them, (hall make or give for the piirpofes before men- 
tioned. 

And be it enadted by the authority aforefaid, that the 
faid commiffioners, or any two of them, fliall be, and are 
hereby impowered to examine into any corrupt and fraudu- 
lent pradtices, or other mifcondudt, committed by any 
perfon or perfons concerned in the management of any of 
the offices or departments hereinbefore mentioned: and, 
for the better execution of this prefent adt, the faid com- 
miffioners, or any two of tbem^ are hereby authorized to meet 
,andftty from time to time^ in fucb place or places as tbeyJbaH 
find mofi convenient J ^witb or without adjournmenty and to 
fend their precept or precepts j under their hands and feals^ 
for any perfon or perfons whatfoever^ and for fucb books^ 
paper Sy writings ^ or records^ as they Jhall judge neceffary for 
their information^ relating to any of the offices or departments 
hereinbefore mentioned \ and all bailiffs y conjiables^ fheriffsy 
and other his majefifs officer Sy are hereby required to obey and 
execute fucb orders and precepts aforefaid^ as Jhall befent to 
them or any of them by the faid comm^ifftonersy or any two of 
tbemy touching the premifes. 



APPENDIX, 



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TO THE PRECEDING SPEECH. 529 

APPENDIX, N' 2. 
Referred to from p. 443. 

NABOB OF argot's DEBTS. 

MR. GEORGE SMITH being afked, Whether the 
debts of the nabob of Arcot have increafed fince he 
knew Madras ? he faid, Yes, they have. He diftinguilhes 
his debts into two forts ; thofe contradled before the year 
1766, and thofe contracted from that year to the year in 
which he left Madras. — Being alked, What he thinks is the 
original amount of the old debts ? he faid. Between twenty- 
three and twenty-four lacks of pagodas, as well as he can 
recoUedt. — Being alked. What was the amount of that debt 
when he left Madras ? he faid, Between 4 and 5 lacks of 
pagodas, as he underftood. — Being afked, What was the 
amount of the new debt when he left Madras ? he faid, In 
November 1777 that debt amounted, according to the na- 
bob's own account, and publifhed at Chipauk, his place of 
relidence, to lixty lacks of pagodas, independent of the old 
debt, on which debt of 60 lacks of pagodas, the nabob did 
agree to pay an intereft of twelve per cent, per annum. — 
Being alked. Whether this debt was approved of by the 
court of directors ? he faid. He does not know it was.— 
Being afked, Whether the old debt was recognized by the 
court of directors ? he faid. Yes, it has been ; and the court 
of diredors have fent out repeated orders to the prefident 
and council of Madras, to enforce its recovery and payment. 
— Being alked. If the intereft upon the new debt is punc- 
tually paid ? he faid, It was not during his relidence at 
Madras, from 1777 to 1779, in which period he thinks no 
more than five per cent, intereft was paid, in different divi- 
VoL, II. 3 Y dends 



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530 A P P E N D I X, N* a. 

Jends of two and one per cent. — Being afked, What is the 
ufual courfe takea by the nabob, concerning the arrears of 
intereft ? he faid, Not having ever lent him naonies hiaifelf, 
he cannot fully aniwer as to the mode of fettling the intereft 
with him. 

Being afked, Whether he has reafbn to believe the 60 
lacks of pagodas was all principal money really and truly 
advanced to the nabob of Arcot, or a fidlitious capital, made 
Tip of obligations given by him, where no money or goods 
were received, or which was increafed by the nniting into 
it a greater intereft than the 12 per cent, exprefled to be due 
on the capital ? he faid, He has no reafbn to beheve that the 
flim of 60 lacks of pagodas was lent in money or goods to 
the nabob, becaule that fnm he thinks is of more value 
than all the money, goods, and chattels in the fettlement; 
but he does not know in what mode or manner this debt of 
the nabob's was incurred or accumulated. — Being afked^ 
Whether it was not a general and well-grounded opinion 
at Madras^ that a great part of this fum was accumulated by 
obligations, and were for fervices performed or to be per- 
formed for the nabob ? he faid. He has heard that a part of 
this debt was given for the purpofes mentioned in the above 
qneftion, but he does not know that it was fo. — Being afked, 
Whether it was the general opinion of the fettlement ? he 
faid. He cannot fay that it was the general opinion, but it 
was the opinion of a conliderable part of the fettfement; 
— Being alked, Whether it was the declared opinion of 
thofe that were concerned in the debt, or thofe that were 
not ? be faid. It was the opinion of both parties, at leaft foch 
of them as he converfed with. — Being afked» Whether 
he has reafon to believe that the intereft really paid by the 
nabob, upon obligations given, or money lent, did not fre- 
quently exceed 12 per cent. ? he faid, Prior to the firft of 
Augufk 1774, he had had reafon to believe, that a higher 

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TO THE PRECEDING SPEECH. 531 

intereft than i» per cent, yyas paid by the nabob on monies 
lent to him ; but from and after that period, when the lz& 
a£t of parliament took place in India, he does not know that 
more than 12 percent, had been paid by the nabob, or 
received from him — Being afked, Whether it is not his 
opinion, that the nabob has paid more than 12 per cent, for 
money due fince the ift of Augujft 1774 ^ ^^ faid» He has 
heard that he has* but he does not know it. — Being alked, 
Whether he has been told fo by any confiderable and 
weighty authority, that was like to know ? he faid. He has 
been fo informed by perfons w